Home > RECIPES > Impress Your Guests With This Wonderful Winter Soup!

Impress Your Guests With This Wonderful Winter Soup!

Our kitchen sideboard (a reclaimed dresser) hosts a grouping of festive treasures, many of which are found antiques, and include a modern soup tureen, perfect for serving my favourite soup for entertaining.

Glorious Day, All!

Thanks for visiting!  The tea kettle’s on….

I have to admit, my lovelies, that it is a tad exciting to be entering the blogosphere.  In this third blog post, I decided to just jump in with both feet and share with you my recipe for a fab soup that’ll knock your socks off!   I recently served this delish dish to my friends and co-workers and it earned rave reviews with everyone clamouring for the recipe, so here goes…

Nothing says “WELCOME” quite like a great tasting, toe-warming winter soup.  This one is perfect – either as a starter to an elegant celebratory dinner, or the ‘star’ of a home-from-the-pond meal!

Surprisingly, the main ingredient in this rich and creamy creation is the humble potato. It’s easy on the purse, simple to make and looks beautiful in the bowl – an absolute keeper!  After you’ve tasted it, you’ll want to add it to your own recipe file.





 

Potato Soup – 1 recipe makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped (I use red because they’re sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups red potatoes, peeled and finely diced (Yukon gold are nice, too)
  • 1 cup baby carrots, finely diced (again the ‘babies’ are sweeter and save you the peeling step)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups blend cream (1 dairy container)

Method:

Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Add the onions and celery and cook  just until tender.    Note: Be careful not to brown the veggies; cook only until transparent.  Stir in the chicken broth.  Add the potatoes, carrots, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Bring to boiling for one minute, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.  Stir occasionally.  Remove bay leaf, then remove the soup from the pot and purée hot soup in a blender or food processor.  After the soup is puréed, return it to the cooking pot.  Add the blend cream just before serving and heat only to serving temperature.  DO NOT BOIL OR SOUP WILL CURDLE.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Your soup making will be much easier with this handy-dandy tool - the immersion blender!

Simply insert it directly into your soup pot to purée the veggies; it'll save you having to remove them from the pot, transferring them to a blender to purée and returning them to the pot afterwards!!!

Note: The ‘purée step’ is tedious but it is well worth the time.  I recently found an ‘immersion blender’ at my local ‘Dominion’ supermarket in their housewares section. Simply plug it in and purée the vegetables in the broth directly in the pot – no fussing.  The immersion blender essentially acts similarly to an electric mixer and Voila!  If you can find this handy gadget, it’s certainly worth the investment (I paid under $20 for mine) and it has become a pure pleasure to make this recipe – sooo easy!


Serving Hints

This soup is a hit every time I serve it.  I often double the recipe for larger gatherings (16-20 servings).  I also make the extra so I can freeze half of  the recipe for future use.  I sometimes ladle this soup into handsome ivory-coloured cups to make it go even further, as a starter for a celebratory brunch – it’s that versatile.


A crisp slice of bacon; pan-seared, deep-sea scallop; or steamed jumbo shrimp can make over an ordinary bowl of Potato Soup into something fantastic!

Garnish each serving with a crisp bacon slice, whole or crumbled.  Or, for a more sophisticated affair, steam jumbo shrimp or sear scallops minutes before serving and add 1-2 per bowl.

Either is wonderful! The possibilities for this soup are as endless as your imagination…I usually fry the bacon the day before my gathering – to avoid  bacon perfume permeating the air on the day of my event – wrap the cooked bacon in foil and store in the refrigerator overnight until ready to use. About a half hour before serving, I warm the bacon in the foil in a low oven to serve atop the soup.

Earlier this week, for the first time, I added a pan-seared jumbo scallop and crumbled bacon over the top as well.  Oh, my!  How scrumptiously delicious!  I know I’m being redundant but this is sooo goood, really!  Read on for some helpful hints on how to perfectly sear scallops without overcooking them, which is often too easy to do.

I am, admittedly, a textile fiend. When I find a fabric remnant that I love - like this richly printed tapestry - I often hem the edges and use it as a tablecloth. The gorgeous brown, taupe, rose and black colours in this particular one make for a sophisticated backdrop to the ivory dinnerware, so cozy on a winter's eve...

This soup is an elegant cream colour and I most always serve it in creamy white dishware;  hence it is very luscious in appearance, as well as on the lips!  It is especially pretty at Christmastime with a white, silver and/or gold holiday tablescape.  It looks beautiful, too, in my pink transferware cups that I discovered years ago at a roadside tag sale while vacationing in Nova Scotia!  Some Christmases later, my good friend Jean gifted me a coordinating soup tureen that her neighbour had placed in her garage sale!!!  I absolutely love it and display it year round atop a kitchen cupboard.

My treasured soup tureen gifted to me by my good friend Jean. To make this delicious soup go further for a brunch or buffet, I serve it in sweet, pink transferware cups. Not only does it look pretty, it's a great conversation starter!

Freezing

I wouldn’t recommend keeping this soup too long in the freezer.  After thawing and reheating on the stovetop (NEVER IN THE MICROWAVE), it may be a little lumpy and you may need to use your handy ’emulsifier’ to purée the soup again before serving to achieve that beautiful, velvety-smooth look.


The Gift of Soup!

This soup makes a thoughtful and cheerful ‘love gift’; especially for a senior, or for someone ‘under the weather’ or going through an illness. Directions:  Ladle the soup into a 1 litre glass mason jar.  Cover the top of the jar with about a 4″ to 4 1/2″ circular piece of pretty paper or fabric, and secure it to the lid with a narrow elastic band.  Tie a ribbon directly over the band to conceal it, just to make it look prettier.   Remember presentation is key; and we eat with our eyes, too!  How something looks is instrumental in creating ‘the total experience’.   Don’t forget to attach a tag that identifies the soup and provides the heating instructions for the recipient. Write  on the tag that the soup should only be warmed to serving and NOT boiled or curdling will occur. It is also important to note that it will only keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

(KEEP TUNED INTO MY BLOG FOR PICS AND MORE STUFF ABOUT SOUP IN DAYS TO COME)


HOW TO PAN-SEAR SCALLOPS

Scallops, in my opinion, are perhaps the most magnificent garnish for Potato Soup.  Follow these four steps, and greatly improve your chances of achieving a perfectly seared scallop with the pretty golden crust!  Hubby and I recently went to dinner at Atlantica Restaurant in Portugal Cove  (I’ll tell you about that lovely experience another time).  Our waiter (also a chef) kindly offered me some great tips on how to properly sear scallops without turning them into tiny hockey pucks!

  1. Rinse scallops and drain well.   Using a paper towel, pat them as dry as possible; season to taste with sea salt.
  2. Using a thin pan, rather than a regular frying pan (I use my crepe pan), heat to high and add about 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and vegetable oil to the pan.  The pan should be almost smoking before adding the scallops.
  3. Gently place each scallop in the pan; listen for that sizzle.  Be careful not to have the scallops touching and not to overcrowd the pan.  Too many scallops crowded in the pan will create more liquid and make it more difficult to sear them properly.
  4. NOTE:  This is a very important step.  Once the scallops are in the pan, DO NOT MOVE THEM.  Resist the urge to do so.  Leave them for about 2 minutes (it will depend on the size of the scallop and the amount of liquid in the pan) without moving them. Once that gorgeous crust has formed on the bottom (you can lift the scallop to check this), flip the scallops and sear them on the opposite side for just 1 minute longer.  If the scallops appear translucent (look at their sides), remove the scallops from the pan immediately.  They will continue cooking out of the pan for a few more seconds.  If the scallop springs back to the touch, they’re perfectly done.  If they are stiff to the touch, it’s too late as they’re already overcooked.

Don't hesitate to serve this beautiful soup on a special occasion! Oh, and be prepared to give the recipe...

I guarantee your guests will sing your praises when you serve this soup, and nearly always ask for the recipe.  It is my pleasure to share this recipe along with my ‘soup secrets’ with you.  See ya next time.  I’ll be expecting you…

ENJOY!

Warmly yours,

Linda




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  1. Linda
    2011/02/03 at 9:29 pm

    Linda,

    You are making me hungry. I have to try your potato soup.. That kitchen gadget certainly looks like a charm. Your photos should be published in a magazine.

    Linda (B)

    • 2011/02/03 at 10:24 pm

      Hey, there! Glad you dropped by. When I finally learn how to operate my new “grown-up” camera, the pics will be really nice. The photos now on the blog were taken with one that I got at Shoppers a few years back using Optimum points! The recipe for the soup is the same one I served you and Deb on Saturday night. Be sure and let me know how it turns out…

  2. Connie Hayward
    2011/02/17 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I love your blog! You sound just like Victoria Magazine, which I love also. Do you remember Tasha Tudor – Corgi Cottage? I loved reading about her; she was an artist also. Keep doing what you are doing; you are a bright spot on this earth. I will try the soup for sure…Loved the pictures and the warm comments, the recipes, decorating – all of it!!!

    Your friend,
    Connie Hayward

    • 2011/02/17 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Connie!

      Thanks for your warm comments. I highly value your opinion. And what a flattering comment to be compared to ‘Victoria’ magazine in any way at all!!! ‘Victoria’ is an old friend. Through the years, I have absolutely absorbed ‘Her’ gloriously rich pages. I have spent many, many hours with ‘Victoria’ armchair travelling! Lol. ‘Her’ gracious writings and beautiful images have influenced many aspects of my life. I am constantly being inspired by the imagery and am glad ‘She’ has returned to us once more. Even my beautiful grandniece is named ‘Victoria’, my favourite name in the world! Lol

      Tasha Tudor – I most certainly do remember her! I have one of her luscious books – “Forever Christmas” and it is a treasure! I am not at all surprised that you would be a loyal fan of hers. She was a corgi lover, too, and corgis were the delightful subject of many of her writings and drawings. She was a gift to this world – a very talented artist, author, homemaker, gardener, teacher….My husband used to remark that she actually reminded him of his own mother! I tended to agree with him. I wish the two could have met. I think they would have probably become good friends. Lol

      I am so delighted that you are enjoying the read! Come back soon!

      Hugs,
      Linda

  3. Tammy Fry
    2011/03/01 at 3:38 pm

    This soup sounds amazing…I must try it! It sounds like a warm hug!

    Tammy

    • 2011/03/01 at 5:54 pm

      This a very yummy recipe and the nicest thing about it is that you can dress it up or down! It’s lovely on a cold winter’s day. Hint: A immersion mixer is an excellent tool for this recipe. You could even add chunks of cooked cod at the very end and just heat to serving for a rich, thick ‘chowder’. Let me know how your soup turns out…

      Linda

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