Monday, January 25, 2010

Down but not Out

Has been a rough couple of weeks for Magimom... and I'm sorry I've not posted new food. Tonight I'm thinking of some Tilapia fillets (my favorite non-fishy fish), home made cornbread, and grits for dinner. Yes, very southern... and I DO know what a Grit is... and yes, very good!
Since I've not done much in the way of cooking the last couple of weeks -- I will feed your desire for recipes with one of my tried and true favorites... Magimom's Tons of Taters Potato soup. This stuff sticks to the ribs, the pot, the spoon, and the sides of your sink.. just kidding, but it is truly a wonderful wintertime comfort food, and it has my favorite meat -- bacon in it! :) Enjoy!
This soup is HEAVY, and is typically exceptionally thick. Remember I cook for 7 or 8 most of the time, so my recipes are always for LARGE groups. Most of them you can cut in half for the normal family... so without further ado...

8-10 lbs Idaho Potatoes washed and cubed with peel on (you can remove the peel if you want, I don't since that's where all the nutrition is, and I'm incredibly lazy)
1 lb bacon fried and crumbled
4 cans green beans (sm size) if using the medium cans 2 will usually do it
1/2 gallon milk
1/2 lb butter
Mashed potato flakes as needed to thicken
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Garlic to taste

Wash and cube potatoes and place in LARGE stockpot with enough water to cover. Add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste -- I use a LOT of pepper because I like it a little more "spicy".Bring to boil and cook until potatoes begin to soften.
Fry, drain, and crumble bacon. I like to cut my bacon in half in the package before cooking, it is easier to get more in the pan that way, and I'm all about EASY in the kitchen!
Once potatoes start to soften (about 30-35 minutes in) add green beans with their juice -- open the can and dump it in... again, LAZY woman here... actually, the green bean liquid adds a great flavor to the soup.
Add the bacon crumbled to the pot... Now, I add my bacon drippings too... but that's just me and I like a lot of that smoky flavor in my soup.If you are watching your weight you can use turkey bacon, and drain it well prior to using and it cuts the fat WAY down.
Add butter -- I know, 1/2 lb of butter sounds like a LOT... I typically use margarine, and I add it until my soup is a nice soft yellow color, which usually takes about 1/2 to 1 cup but can be as much as 1/2 lb. This recipe is totally an "as you like it" type thing so change up what you need to for the desired effect!
Add milk... this can be as much as 1/2 gallon, or more if you'd like... Remember, milk thickens some as it cooks and potatoes have that wonderful natural starch that also does it's own thickening. Return soup to boil, be careful here -- milk will scald and taste "burnt" if you boil too hard from this point on. I usually keep my burner around 4 or so from now on and have been known to turn it down to 2. Cook until potatoes are soft and falling apart. You know the texture we typically use for mashed potatoes, that's what we want here, nice and THICK!
I normally let mine sit at this temp for about 30 - 45 minutes so it gets nice and creamy thick. If you aren't getting the thickness due to too much milk, butter, or the bacon drippings -- go ahead and add 1 cup at a time some mashed potato flakes. You can't tell they're in there and they add a nice thickness to the soup. Once your soup reaches the desired thickness serve in warm bowls or soup cups with a sprinkle of FRESH parsley or chives on top... My kids also love a little cheddar cheese on top too!
To store: remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Remove soup from pot and place in storage containers. If soup is still very hot (for some reason potatoes retain heat very well) leave the lids unsealed on your containers until soup stops steaming. NEVER put hot soup in the fridge! The milk can sour. Refrigerated this lasts about 3 days, frozen up to 4 months. 

Hopefully this will add some warmth on the winter days still ahead! Enjoy :) 

And if you are interested in what has Magimom so out of sorts lately, check out my other blog Story of a Life.

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

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