With another winter storm coming our way today, it was time to get into the kitchen. My family loves homemade potato soup. Since I had all of them underfoot, I pulled out 10 potatoes and started peeling. After dicing them into 1/4 inch pieces, I filled the 4 quart soup pot with water and put it on for a boil.
During the winter months, I always keep on hand the trinity. For those of you who aren't familiar with this cooking term, the trinity includes: celery, green or red peppers and onions(today I substituted green onions since I had them on hand.)
While the potatoes are boiling, I cut these up.
I used 4 stalks of celery, one half of a large green pepper and 6 green onions. If you have more or less of one of these, don't worry. Just use what you have. These 3 ingredients are all diced into similar sized pieces.
Another item that I always keep in my freezer is Polska Kielbasa. I normally use the turkey version, however, on my last trip to the store, they didn't have it. The turkey version tastes the same to me and has less fat.
After cutting each link in half, I then cut each link in half lengthwise and then dice. Set aside.
Take 1/2 of a stick of butter(I'm a purist..I only use butter) and place it in a large skillet.
Once melted, I add the diced vegetables.
The only seasoning I use these days seems to be Cavender's-All Greek Seasoning.
Instead of using salt and pepper, this spice adds so much more with the addition of salt, pepper, garlic and a flavor base. I add 1 tablespoon to the vegetables.
Now with the lid back on, I let it simmer on low for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are wilted.
Then add the diced kielbasa and simmer for 5 more minutes. This will pull out more of the seasoning in the meat.
By now the potatoes are cooked. Drain and make your normal mashed potato recipe. I have found that my family prefers white pepper and salt for seasoning. The girls don't like 'black spots' in their potatoes. Before adding the milk, I microwave it until hot. This prevents the gluey mashed potatoes that I think are just unappetizing. Using your hand beater, add the remaining 1/2 stick of butter and beat. Salt and pepper to your own taste.
Now you have a large pot of mashed potatoes. I always cut this quantity in half, freezing the one half for later. I have found that if I place a sheet of parchment paper over the potatoes in the container, it will cause less moisture to crystalize on the top of the potatoes, so when they are thawed, they are not soupy. Cover and freeze.
The other half of the potatoes are stirred into the vegetable/kielbasa mix in the skillet.
Add milk to the mixture to achieve the thickness you would like. I added 3 cups of cold milk.
Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
I can make this up to 2 days in advance because it keeps so well in the fridge. In order to take up less room in the fridge, I store it in a 2 quart drink pitcher.
Before serving the soup later on, I butter whole wheat bread, top with fresh grated Parmesan and broil until toasted. It adds a nice addition to your mashed potato soup.
Besides warming up your family's stomachs, it will take off that winter chill.
When waking this morning, I glanced outside and found a winter wonderland. This RARELY happens in the south. No school again today.
The snow is beautiful.