Happy St. Patrick’s Day! March 17 used to mean I embarked on an often unsuccessful quest to find something green to wear. Over time, the quest shifted from green clothes to green beer. Today it has evolved into a search for a recipe with Irish in the title, which often involves potatoes. Last year it was Irish Mash. This year it is Irish Potato Soup.
Potato soup sounds about as exciting as my St. Patrick’s of Days Past. Imagine my pleasant surprise when this soup turned out to be magically delicious. (Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself).
I think it is the sour cream that makes this potato soup so much more enjoyable than others – which use whole milk as their base - I have tried. I can not say, given my love for mashed potatoes whipped with sour cream and my inability to eat a baked potato without a healthy dollop of the stuff, why I never thought of such a substitution before.
The most complicated thing about making this Irish potato soup is the bouquet garni. Fortunately, that is not complicated at all. A bouquet garni is simply one bay leaf, four sprigs of parsley, and four sprigs of thyme held together with a piece of string.
You don’t even need to peel the potatoes if you do not feel like it. I typically do not peel mine, if only because my mom always said the skin is the healthy part of the potato. Too bad we can’t say the same of a fried chicken.
In fact, the simplicity of this soup extends beyond the ingredients to the tools required to make it. I dropped the lid – which subsequently shattered – of my food processor this week, and I do not own a blender of any sort. I was not sure how I was going to make this soup smooth, but it turns out the potatoes and celery and onion are so tender after simmering for an hour, a fork would be sufficient to mash them all together.
I ended up using my hand mixer, which was perhaps not the most practical option, but it worked. Some bright green chives popped up in my tiny garden over the past week (come on spring!), so I topped my soup with those. Because bacon is the answer to anything, I think crumbling a piece of bacon over the top would be just as fine.
I’m off to find something green to wear. Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 large potatoes, peeled if desired and diced
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bouquet garni (see Notes)
- 1 cup sour cream
- Optional: chives
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the garlic followed by the onion, celery, and potatoes. Stir occasionally and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, cayenne pepper and bouquet garni.
- Reduce heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for one hour.
- Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor or blender to make smooth.
- If you removed the soup to process, return it to the pot it was cooked in. Stir in the sour cream until completely incorporated.
- Garnish with sour cream and chives, if desired, and serve warm.