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Storage Potatoes
John Tullock

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 quality.

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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