Potato soup is any warm, creamy soup whose basic ingredients are potatoes and milk. It has a mild flavor that can be varied and spiced up with any number of extra ingredients and seasonings; the potatoes readily absorb other flavors and colors. This thick and hearty soup reminds many people of cold winter days from their childhood. The basic ingredients are readily available and fairly inexpensive — so potato soup is an excellent choice for feeding a large family. Potato soup is filling and versatile; it is a long-standing favorite in soothing comfort food.
Cooking a pot of potato soup is fairly straightforward. Simply peel and cube the potatoes, and add just enough water to cover them completely. Simmer the potatoes until they are tender, adding salt, pepper, or other spices to taste. Add milk or cream and cook on low to thicken the liquid; cornstarch or potato flakes can also be used to thicken. Like most soups, potato soup is perfectly suited for cooking in a slow cooker.
Now that you have the basic building blocks, there are endless variations to change the flavor and texture of potato soup. Ham and bacon are popular additions that add protein and meaty flavor. Onions and leeks are great flavor additions, and carrots, corn, or broccoli add color and vitamins. For a sweeter alternative, prepare the soup with sweet potatoes and add nutmeg, cinnamon and a touch of brown sugar; this gives the soup a rich and spicy aroma similar to pumpkin pie. Explore your kitchen and your imagination for other tasty ingredients to add variety and texture to your soup.
Potato soup is hearty and filling enough to be a meal all by itself, but there are lots of ways to dress it up and pair it with tasty sides. Adding crackers, corn chips, or croutons provides a pleasant crunch to contrast the creaminess of the soup. Serve it with warm cornbread, toasted sourdough, or fresh biscuits. Pair it with a toasted panini sandwich for a tasty cold-weather lunch with friends. A side salad or steamed veggies on the side add extra nutrition and color to your meal.
Recipes for potato soup are easy to find. Your family may have its own special recipe that you remember from your childhood, so check with your mother or grandmother first. Any all-purpose cookbook will have at least one recipe for potato soup, and might have several variations for you to try. If you're ready for something different, a simple internet search for potato soup will turn up dozens of new recipes, with flavors to satisfy even the most adventurous palate. Don't forget to explore your own kitchen and use your imagination to come up with your own version of this traditional and tasty soup.