Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pot, Stock, and a Hell Roaring Time

The final adventure of Nicole's visit included a hike via the Hell Roaring trail to a great vista along a 12,500 ft ridge.  Its called the Hell Roaring trail because in June during peak runoff, the water rages through the area to a deafening tone, its hell roaring.  Of course, it being October, the snow is just starting to fall.  So we didn't have too much raging water, but we did have fresh snow! 

The snow we've had up high over the past week made it an interesting hike with some post holing near the top, but it was all worth it to take in this:

Maybe Jim and I even got our Christmas card photo, haha!

The evening ended with a soak in the Penny Hot Springs; a little known spot that Jim and I hadn't yet discovered, but we're now excited to know that we have free hot springs only 20 minutes away!

In honor of this snowy hike, I thought I'd post a great soup recipe.  We didn't eat this after our hike; we went out and gorged on some awesome BBQ, but I've been wanting to share this recipe, and what better time to do it than on a crisp fall day!

Soni's Potato Soup

Soni is my mom, and she is known for making some excellent soups.  I made this potato soup with potatoes that I dug up out of the garden myself that very morning and an onion from the same origin.  I think it tasted a little bit better just because of that.

5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (unpeeled if they are small or the peel is thin)
1 quart chicken stock plus water as needed
1 onion diced
3 tbs butter
1-1/2 cups milk (I used fat free)
2 tbsp corn starch plus 2 tbsp more milk
1 head garlic (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take the head of garlic, wrap it in foil and stick in a hot oven.  Let it roast until the cloves are soft and mushy (this is optional).  Cube the potatoes and place them in a pot with the diced onion.  I used a 6 quart soup pot.  Add in the chicken broth and top off with water (if the chicken stock isn't enough) JUST to cover the potatoes.  You want them to barely be covered with the liquid.  Add a few pinches of salt and bring the potatoes to a boil.  Boil for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are just fork tender.  You don't want them to be as soft as you would for mashing.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and stop the boil.  Add the milk, butter, and more salt and pepper to taste.  If you are adding the roasted garlic, squeeze the soft cloves out of the head and add them at this time also.  Let simmer for 15 minutes or so, and if it needs to be thicker, add the slurry of corn starch and flour.  Don't over do it with this though.  Continue to simmer for at least another 15 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. 

At this point, the soup is done but I added one more step.  I took my emmersion blender and ran it through the soup for just a few turns.  It was just enough to thicken the soup by blending up some of the potatoes, but I didn't mash up all the potatoes.  The majority of them were still in their chunky form.

Serve with some grated cheddar cheese and some bacon crumbles if desired.

I made a ton of this soup.  Enough to give Jim lunch and have two full meals left over with four meals in the freezer and a full meal given to the neighbors.  It was a big compliment when Sally, our neighbor, asked how much cream was in the soup.  I consider this a pretty healthy recipe, so her thinking there was so much cream in there meant it didn't taste like it!  Go me!

Picture coming soon!

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