What I adore about this potato soup recipe is that it is basic, uncomplicated and super simple. Yes, there's a time and place for "loaded" potato soups ... with bacon, ham, corn, sausage or over-the-top spices. But, this is simply a down-to-earth potato soup recipe that requires little fuss and only basic ingredients. And, it satisfies like no other. Pure comfort food to warm you up from the inside out.
There's a funny story that goes along with this soup (bear with me) ... involving a "mishap" that happened seventeen years ago. I had just met my now-husband a few weeks prior and he was bringing his sister and brother-in-law over to my house for dinner (and for me to meet them for the first time). I wasn't a super experienced cook, but I had been making this for a while and I knew it was something tasty that I did well. As you will discover, one of the last steps to this soup is adding some milk at the end. I had worked all day cleaning my house, worrying about impressing my hubby's family and I was nervous about cooking for them. I had bought some good crusty bread to go along with it and had whipped up something for dessert. The soup was on, I showered and was getting myself dolled up ... then came time for the adding of the milk at the end. Now, keep in mind it was fall, which meant apple cider in my fridge.
I was in such a panic to have everything perfect. In the midst of my scrambling frenzy, I grabbed the gallon jug of apple cider out of the fridge instead of the milk! There wasn't much left in the jug, so I didn't even notice that it was NOT the milk. I started pouring some in and by the time I realized what I actually had in my hand, a good half-cup of the cider had found its way into my potato soup! Of course, I panicked! Upon tasting it, it wasn't too noticeable! So, I served it.
Everyone loved it! I told my hubby afterwards what had happened, but he said that it was fabulous! I have made this hundreds of times in the years since and he always says it has never tasted as good as it did that night! I even tried once adding a bit of cider, but still ... he swears that one time was the best. We joke about it to this day ... that maybe the early stages of falling in love just blinded him to the actual oddness of "Cider Potato Soup."
Serves 4 - 6
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
5 pounds potatoes (I use russet), peeled and cut into small chunks
4 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence (optional)
1/2 - 1 cup milk
1 cup shredded Colby or cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large soup pot set over medium heat, soften minced onions in olive oil. Add potatoes and stir to coat in oil.
Sprinkle flour over potatoes. Stir to coat potatoes in flour. Cook 3 - 4 minutes to allow raw taste in flour to cook out, stirring every now and then.
Next, add in chicken stock and herbs (if using). Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. (If desired, a potato masher can be used to break up some of the cooked potatoes at this point.)
Stir in a 1/2 cup of milk ... add the remainder of the milk only if your soup is too thick for your preference. Bring soup back up to a slight simmer, then stir in the cheese a little at a time until fully melted and incorporated into the soup.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off burner and allow soup to rest for about 5 - 10 minutes prior to serving.
Garnish with additional cheese and/or scallions, if desired.
NOTE: A couple of chicken bouillon cubes or chicken base can be added to fortify your stock if you find that your soup needs more flavor.
11/16/16: Updated photo and made clarifications to post.