Monday, November 8, 2010

Quill #101 - Grandma's Potato Soup Recipe

This was my father's favorite soup. The recipe was passed down to my mother from her mother and, presumably, from mothers before them. When I make this soup, I don't follow a recipe, so you'll have to forgive me if the instructions are a little strange. I'm putting this one in a blog for family members.

Home-style (Very) Potato Soup

a big pot about half-full of water
up to 1 medium-sized onion (sweet varieties preferred)
2-3 medium-sized potatoes, or whatever you've got
3 eggs
1/2 - 1 cup flour
milk or milk powder or canned milk
chicken broth or chicken bouillon (4 cubes)
celery salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. black pepper

Chop the onion and potato into small bits and toss them into the pot. Add the broth or bouillon and a couple shakes of celery salt, for now. Set the pot to boiling.

While that's getting hot, whisk three eggs in a cereal bowl with a fork until they're smooth and yellow, then add a half cup of flour and keep stirring with the fork till the batter is how you like it for either noodles or dumplings. (Noodles, the batter drips thickly off the fork. Dumplings are thicker.) You may have to add more flour, depending on what you prefer. My dumplings usually take about a cup.

When the pot has boiled, drop in your noodles or dumplings, a little bit at a time, allowing each bit to cook a little before dropping more into the pot. Once all the batter has been put into the pot, reduce the heat and let the noodles/dumplings cook for a few minutes on simmer. Stir the pot occasionally as you're adding batter.

When the pot isn't boiling anymore, and the noodles are fully cooked, add the milk. You want enough milk, if possible, to turn the broth from transparent to opaque. If you haven't got that much milk, don't worry about it. The soup will still be good.

Now add a teaspoon of salt, if you're allowed, and a couple more shakes of celery salt, taste, and then add whatever amount of these is pleasant to you, tasting as you go. Add a half teaspoon of black pepper, again adjusting these three spices for your taste. Once you're satisfied with the flavor, serve. Some people like crackers with their soup.


Now, I have to admit I've made personal adjustments to this recipe. Sometimes I add a few bay leaves while it's cooking, or use red pepper instead of black. Sometimes I add carrots or other vegetables when I'm low on potatoes. I've experimented with making lower carb versions, though none of my experiments have the flavor of the original.

Once I made the mistake of putting one of my versions out for dinner for my father, saying that I thought the flavor was an interesting variation. I don't think he could have glared at me more if I'd murdered my mother. In his eyes, the two crimes might have been equal.

In any case, nobody else is bound to the original. Feel free to make variations. If you serve one to me, I promise not to glare.

(image from Lolcats)

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