Sunday, January 23, 2011

MORE Soup!

I have a potato obsession. Okay, perhaps it's a carbohydrate obsession, seeing as I love potatoes and bread equally... but my love for potatoes is strong and passionate.

About 10 years ago I was in the habit of hosting a weekly "Dinner Night" at my apartment and would try to make things that were relatively simple, easy to adapt for large groups, and TASTY. This recipe has always been a hit with everyone I've ever served it to.

What could be better than potatoes and cheese? I did some googling of potato-cheese soup and came across this interesting recipe for Ecuadorian Potato Cheese Soup with Avocado. Not all of my friends love avocado as much as I do, so I usually just serve it as a garnish instead of including it in the bowl to begin with.

Ecuadorian Potato-Cheese Soup (with or without avocado...)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups cold water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 pounds) or other boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 cups light cream
2 cups corn kernels
1 cup crumbled queso blanco, crumbled farmer's cheese or grated Muenster cheese (about 1/4 pound)
2 medium-size ripe avocados
Snipped fresh chives or fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add the onion, paprika and turmeric and sauté until onion is softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the potatoes. Lower heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Break up potatoes into smaller pieces with a fork or wooden spoon. Stir in the cream and corn and cook until heated through and corn is tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cheese and heat until melted, about 1 minute.

Halve, peel and pit the avocados. Slice crosswise. Place avocado pieces in soup bowls, ladle soup over the avocado slices, garnish with snipped fresh chives or cilantro leaves, and serve.

*I often find that the soup needs more salt, but add to your own taste.

Makes 8 servings.

Variation: For a meat version, stir in 1 pound of shredded, cooked chicken

When I made this tonight I sliced a whole avocado into my bowl of soup - FANTASTIC.


One of my favorite restaurants in Portland, Oregon is Old Wives' Tales. I'm sure that part of my love for the place has to do with the wide variety of vegetarian options, but everything I've ever had there has always been delicious.

My VERY favorite thing on the menu is Hungarian Mushroom Soup. Growing up I was not much of a soup-eater, but this was the one exception and I've loved it ever since.

I don't know the origins of this particular recipe, and don't know how accurate it is in comparison to that made at Old Wives' Tales, but it works for me!

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
3/4 lbs fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dill weed (I use fresh when I can)
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons tamari (I used light soy sauce tonight)
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons white flour
1 cup milk
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup sour cream

In medium pot or large sauce-pan, saute mushrooms and onion in 2 tbs butter until onions start to turn clear and mushrooms are starting to soften.

Add water (or stock), dill, paprika & tamari. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Microwave milk in separate container for about a minute.

In a small pot, melt remaining butter and stir in flour. Cook over medium heat to slightly browned, whisk in milk, then add mixture to mushroom mixture.

Stir in sour cream just before serving.

I ate most of the pot by myself.