Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just the Basics

This was the view out my window this morning.

I always take anything that an Oregon meteorologist says with a grain of salt. They seem to get it wrong almost as much as they get it right. So, when they started talking about snow this week, I was skeptical. However, the Farmer’s Almanac apparently had it right all along, when it predicted we’d have snow by the end of February in spite of having enjoyed a very mild and unusually dry month up to that point.

Here in the Valley, we get relatively little snow. And it’s amusing to watch people throw themselves into high gear over the anticipation of a bit of the white stuff. Stores are packed with people laying in supplies. Seems like a lot of hullaballoo when a loaf of bread and a few slices of lunch meat are about the extent of the ‘supplies’ you really need (in case of a power outage resulting in no use of your electric stove).

Me, I kind of go into ‘nesting’ mode. I want to put on a pot of soup that will stave off a sometimes unreliable heating system in my house.

Nothing fancy, mind you. Just good, simple food. So, in addition to revisiting the Cheddar biscuits from the other day (although this time I just used my standard biscuit recipe and added cheese to it), I threw together a batch of your basic potato soup.

Couldn’t ask for more on a cold day.

Potato Soup

3 strips lean bacon
1 Tbs butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (the smaller they are, the quicker they cook!)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp dried thyme
2 Tbs dried parsley flakes
2 Tbs flour
1 32 oz carton low-sodium chicken broth
¼ - ½ cup half n’ half (or milk, whipping cream, etc)

In a large saucepan or soup pot, melt the butter. Cut bacon into ¼” strips and add to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is beginning to crisp. Add onion and continue to cook and stir until it becomes translucent. Add diced potatoes, the thyme, parsley and flour. Cook and stir a couple of minutes to allow the flour to cook somewhat. Add broth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep potatoes from sticking to the bottom. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. With the back of a spoon, ‘mash’ some of the potatoes against the side of the pot (This helps to thicken the soup. If you like larger chunks of potatoes and a more liquid consistency, leave them be).

Add your half n’ half and mix thoroughly. Serve warm.

**  My opinion is that every child should have an understanding of how to make basic soup, pasta, and vegetable recipes before they leave the loving fold of their parent'(s) home.  From there the possibilities are endless.

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