May has let me down this year. Perennially my favorite month, May usually abounds with bright, sunny days when the temperature hovers around 70 to 75° , which even my outdoor thermometer recognizes as "ideal". Not so this year. Cold, rainy day is followed by cold, windy, rainy day, and it's a good thing I kicked the sunbathing habit or I would be really pissed.
As we know, however, this blog features things that are nice, not naughty, so in that spirit, I offer a soup recipe for a rainy day. This is not just any soup recipe. It is for the best damn potato soup I have ever tasted, and I think you might agree with me if you try it. It all started a couple of months ago after one of my blog posts mentioned how I longed for a good potato soup recipe. Bryan (who turns 30 today - happy birthday, Bryan!) sent me his mom's recipe, which I promptly tried. And, I tell you, it was darn good. But I knew I could make it better - if less healthy - and this is the recipe I came up with.
8 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
medium onion, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
3-4 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped (Ben thought 4 cups of cabbage was too much, but that begs the question, can there be too much cabbage?)
2-lb. bag Ore-Ida frozen cubed hash browns
6 cups homemade chicken stock
2 Tbsps butter or margarine
2 Tbsps Wondra flour
2 cups milk
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Whatever you like, really. I use a 4-cheese, reduced fat, Mexican blend.)
Fry the bacon until done in a large frying pan. Remove bacon pieces and drain. Sauté onions, celery and cabbage in bacon grease until cabbage is well-cooked.
In a large saucepan, cook potato cubes in chicken stock until potatoes are tender. Add about a teaspoon of salt. You may want to mash some of the potatoes at this point for a thicker soup.
Melt the butter or margarine in with the sautéed vegetables, whisk in flour to make roux. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of the milk. Return to medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
Slowly stir the vegetable and white sauce mixture into the potatoes. Add the second cup of milk. Let soup simmer, stirring frequently until thickened. When ready to serve, add bacon pieces and shredded cheese. Heat through until cheese melts. Season with freshly-ground pepper, and check to see if soup needs more salt. Serve in big bowls, because it's really good.