Creamy Two-Potato and Dill Soup

dill 1 2.2.14My mother doesn’t like dill. I do. Neither of these preferences is particularly important. They’re just preferences.

And yet, it’s the reason why I automatically reached for the package of dill when I was grocery shopping a few days after I’d visited my mom.

I don’t remember, were we watching a cooking show together? Possibly that, and the TV cook was likely using dill, which would have prompted the “I don’t like/I do like” conversation.

That little exchange lifted dill up out of the recesses of my mind, so that, when I saw the package of it in the store, it was inevitable I should reach for it and bring it home, where I promptly added it to a salad.

Then, the other day, when I took notice of not only potatoes in the fridge, but also sweet potatoes, I thought what a nice soup that would be, and what a great place to stir in fresh dill. So I made potato soup: russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, garlic, vegetable broth…and dill.

While I peeled and diced the potatoes (four medium russets, about 1 1/2 pounds; two medium-largish sweet potatoes, about 1 pound), one thinly sliced celery stalk simmered in a lightly coated pan over medium-low heat. I was keeping the heat lower on the celery, and also added some salt, so the celery wouldn’t cook too fast and brown too much while I diced the potatoes.

Then I tossed in the diced potatoes, along with four minced garlic cloves.

Stirred it all up. Added a little water to keep things from sticking, and put the lid on to keep moisture in and cook through.

Fifteen? Twenty minutes? Not sure…but enough time to clean up a little, empty the dishwasher, put a few other things away.

Took the lid off the pot at one point to check doneness, and was rewarded with the wonderful aroma of garlic. Added a little more water. Lid back on.

When all the potatoes were fork-tender (regular potatoes waiting patiently, because sweet potatoes were firmer and took longer), I added vegetable broth.

I had a one-quart carton, and added half, then used a stick blender to purée. The broth was a rich yellowy-orange, and lent a warm tone to the white potatoes (the sweet potatoes had turned out to be white when I peeled them). I added a little more broth at a time, wasn’t sure how much I’d need. Turned out the whole carton of it was just right.

dill 2 2.2.14Tweaked seasoning with salt and pepper.

Turned off the heat, and stirred in a couple of generous tablespoons of chopped fresh dill.

Ultimately, this is brothy mashed potatoes! Dressed up a little with the addition of sweet potato, bringing, well…a little sweetness.

And then light, grassy (in a good way!) dill freshness.

Creamy, savory-sweet, garlic-infused potato soup with dill…comfort-food soup.

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Cold Day, Hot Soup

greens1 1.26.13Greens and beans. Second Week. Soup.

Still January. And…it genuinely got cold. Highs didn’t get out of the 20s this week, and the lows were in the teens. Even some snow.

Winter.

I wanted to make soup anyway, but it felt even righter.

This time I came home with collard greens and dandelion greens. I don’t always double up on greens in one dish, but they’ve been looking so good to me in the store, I can’t walk out of there with just one kind!

Lots of chopping for this one, but then it goes together pretty quick.

I used…

  • 1 bunch collard greens, rinsed and dried
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 3 small carrots, diced
  • 3 small parsnips, diced
  • 3 small potatoes, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf

I decided to start by cooking the greens in a separate pan. A matter of logistics. Since I had such a lot of greens, I decided to start them in a pan with a wider bottom. Then I could spread them out, and they’d take a little less time to cook down, and would be co-cooking while the other vegetables got going. If I’d stuck to one pot, then I would’ve added the greens to the other vegetables after they’d cooked and browned some.

So I got oil heating in the pan for the greens. Trimmed off the ends of the collards, and cut the stalks into thin slices, then into smaller dice-size, tossed them into the pan to start cooking. I like to use the stalks whenever I can, as long they aren’t too fibrous. I’ll cut them into thin slices, and then cut further if I need to, as I did with these, because I wanted something that sits easily on a soup spoon! I cut the leaves in half once and then again, and in some cases even a third time (because collard leaves are like big fans!), to get vertical ribbons, which I cut into smaller squares, again keeping spoon-size in mind. Turned them in the oil to coat them.

I cut the dandelion greens, and added them. A little salt and pepper, stirred, put on the lid, allowing the greens to cook down over a low/medium-low heat.

I heated enough oil to coat the bottom of my soup pot. To that, I added the diced onion and celery, and the minced garlic cloves, and let them soften. Then came the diced carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and dried tarragon, with salt and pepper to taste. I cooked those over a medium heat til softened, and spooned in the cooked greens. Along with a bay leaf, I poured in four cups of vegetable stock and a can of rinsed red kidney beans, checked for seasoning, let it all come to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes to be sure everything was heated through.

And I toasted a thick slice of multigrain bread.

greens2 1.26.13You see it posing in the picture. After the beauty shot, I submerged the bread and let it get soft with the broth. It didn’t complain.

The broth took on the flavor of the greens, which was really nice. And each bite had a different mix of flavors. Sometimes carrot, sometimes parsnip, sometimes the kick of garlic, or the hint of tarragon.

Beautiful, hearty, and warming from the inside out.