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Tips & Information
If you have been annoyed with potatoes sprouting during storage in your
pantry, try the variety known as “Yukon Gold.” This potato is adapted to
growing in the South, where the early onset of warm, humid weather makes other
potatoes (such as the Russet Burbank grown mostly in chilly Idaho) difficult.
Besides its keeping qualities, Yukon Gold is known for its bright yellow
flesh. It is also an “all-purpose” potato, meaning it contains an
intermediate balance of moisture and starch, making it suitable for cooking by
means of either dry heat or moist.
Potato soup was a standard wintertime “warmer-upper” when I was growing up.
With its rich, golden color and the mellow flavor of caramelized onions, this
version is suitable for a casual family dinner or as the first course for a
fabulous feast for company.
Despite the fact that Vidalia onions are a Southern staple, do not be tempted
to use them in this recipe, or the end result will be too sweet. (On the
other hand, you may like your soup that sweet, so ignore my suggestion.)
Golden Potato Soup
This recipe makes four servings, and may be halved or doubled without loss of
Place 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions in a large,
heavy saucepan. Over gentle heat, cook the onions slowly, stirring
occasionally and regulating the heat to prevent burning, until they are a deep
golden color. Do not allow the onions to brown. Depending upon the moisture
and sugar content of the onions, cooking them may take as long as 45 minutes.
If you are pressed for time, caramelized onions will keep in the refrigerator
overnight. Leave them in the saucepan and allow to cool to room temperature
before refrigerating, covered. When you are ready to continue with the
recipe, remove the pan from the refrigerator, heat until the onions are
fragrant, and proceed.
To the saucepan add 1 1/2 cups chopped celery, 5 cups chicken stock, 1 cup
water, 1 1/2 cups baby carrots (about 20), 4 cups chopped Yukon Gold potatoes,
and a big pinch of dried thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer
for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup whole milk. Keep the soup
hot, but do not allow it to boil after the milk is added. Season to taste
with salt and white pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with a
sprinkling of ground mace, a few bits of finely diced yellow or orange bell
pepper, and a sprinkling of fresh parsley or chives.
John Tullock is an expert gardener and self-taught cook who likes to
develop new recipes using his own fresh produce and the best from the local
market. His interest in plants and horticulture begin in childhood, and he
holds a masters degree in biology from The University of Tennessee. Now a
full-time freelance writer and author of six books, Tullock also co-owns
"Gardener and Gourmet," a retail business that specializes in rare plants
and fine food products.
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