15 March 2009

Comforting Creamy Soup

As I previously mentioned, I have had a chaotic few weeks recently. In the midst of all that chaos, while I was preparing for my sinus surgery, I wanted comfort food. Specifically I wanted fattening, rich, buttery potato soup. However, I didn't have any bacon on hand - and I really think that potato soup needs a healthy dose of bacon. So I decided to improvise and make a creamy soup equally comforting, but a little easier on the waistline. I definitely believe I succeeded in my goal and plan to make this soup again and again.

I started the soup like I do most - with a healthy glug of olive oil and a large onion, chopped. Next I added in the classic flavor boosts - celery and carrots. While the vegetables were softening in the oil, I started peeling several potatoes, both sweet and Yukon gold. I decided to toss the sweet potato in at the last minute. It would give the soup a nutritional boost and also add a sweet little tinge of flavor and color to the finished product. I also wanted some heat, so I added some dried jalapenos to the mix (I think the dried jalapenos sold by Penzeys are some of the most useful ingredients to have on hand if you love spicy foods). Finally, I added some frozen chopped bell peppers I have around from last summer. Some homemade chicken stock from the freezer loosened everything up. I let the vegetables simmer away on the stove top until the potatoes were soft, then I used my handy dandy immersion blender to whiz the whole pot up into a silky smooth soup. I topped it with a little shredded cheese to emphasize the creaminess. The soup was delicious and filling, and I ate all of the leftovers which is a real rarity for me.

Blended Vegetable Soup

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped bell peppers
3 small-medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup (or to taste) dried jalapeno peppers (can sub fresh to taste)
enough chicken stock to cover vegetables
salt and pepper, to taste
shredded cheese for garnish

In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add the onions and oil. Allow onions to soften for about 5 minutes, then add celery and carrots. Cook until vegetables begin to soften and add the diced potatoes, bell peppers and dried jalapenos. Cover the mixture with chicken stock and let simmer on the stove until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to process until a smooth consistency is reached and serve, topped with shredded cheese.

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