Yay! I'm actually down to the last few little containers of Turkey Day leftovers! Seriously, we had so much food that I was sure we'd be eating turkey and all of the trimmings for the remainder of 2011. Thankfully, we had a bunch of hungry guys who had seconds and in some cases, thirds!
OK, now let's get on with what to do with some of the more difficult leftovers. I've never really been a big fan of the old traditional turkey soup, but I do love almost anything made with that glorious king of the tubers...potatoes. For years, I watched with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye, as a bowl full of those once creamy, buttery, silken mashed potatoes went down the disposal. But, not on Thanksgiving night, mind you. No sir. I'd wait for two or three days, heaving a disenchanted sigh each time I'd open the fridge and encounter that bowl of lumpy starchy goodness, wondering how I could use them in a way that didn't immediately scream out "hey, I'm a holiday meal has-been!".
A few years ago, it came to me... Potato Soup! What could be more welcoming and comforting than a big steamy bowl of hearty, bacon-y, cheesey potato soup on a cold November night?? (or, a chilly November morning... yep, I've been known to eat a bowl of a particularly good batch of soup for breakfast
I didn't get a "beauty shot" of this soup because I brought it to a little "pre-Christmas girls night out" pot luck on Saturday night. We were far too busy deciding which wine goes best with potatoes and chocolate and well, the photos from these little gatherings have never been made available to the general public. ;~)
So, without further ado...
Mary's Potato Soup (with bacon and cheddar garnish)
- 3 Cups left over Mashed Potatoes
- 1 Qt Chicken Broth
- 1 Tbls Butter
- 1/2 Lb "Baby" Potatoes, cubed (I used yukon gold fingerling potatoes)
- 1 Lg Onion, diced
- 8 oz Smoked Center Cut Bacon, sliced into approx 1" pieces
- 1/4 C Dry Vermouth or White Wine
- 2 C Milk
- 1 Pint (8oz) Heavy Cream
- 1 Tsp Dried Thyme Leaves (or 1 Tbls fresh)
- Salt and Pepper
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese (for garnish)
In a large stock pot, cook Bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain and set aside. Pour out all but about 1 Tbls of the Bacon fat and add the Butter. Add diced Onion to the pot and saute until translucent and softened. Pour in Vermouth and simmer over med-high heat until reduced by at least half. (should be a little syrupy) Add the cut up Potatoes, 1/2 of the Dried Thyme & Salt and Pepper and cook over medium heat until the potatoes start to soften a bit. Add the Chicken Broth and simmer until the Potatoes are fork tender.
Remove the Potatoes to a bowl (with a slotted spoon) and set aside. Add Milk, Cream, the remaining 1/2 of the Thyme and a bit more Salt & Pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the Mashed Potatoes and stir gently with a whisk to break them up a bit. At this point you can either blend the soup right in the pan with a hand blender or remove it in batches to a blender or food processor. Once the soup is smooth (and poured back in the pot, if using the blender or processor) add the cooked Potatoes back to the pot and continue to simmer for 5-10 more minutes, until they're heated through.
Ladle the soup into bowls or mugs and garnish with a little shredded Cheddar and the reserved cooked Bacon. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread or fresh hot rolls. Enjoy!!