Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"How Easy Is That?"

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I love Ina Garten.  For those of you who aren't Food Network junkies, Ina is also known as "The Barefoot Contessa" and has written countless cookbooks, plus hosts her cooking show on Food Network.  One of her classic and most recognizable taglines is, "How easy is that?".

This weeknight soup might just be the simplest recipe I have in my regular repertoire.  It takes less than 30 minutes to put together and the hardest part is peeling and dicing the potatoes.  Takes no time at all to do with a decent vegetable peeler!

This dish gives you the payoff of a decadent, creamy soup without the negative fat content of a lot of cream or butter.  It depends on cream cheese and the starch of the potatoes to thicken and finish off the soup.  I love using the kind of cream cheese that is made partially of Greek yogurt.  It works beautifully in this recipe and makes me feel better on the calorie/fat content when I eat it.  Win-Win!

You can serve this soup up on its own or garnish it with smoked paprika and a sprinkling of cheese.  I highly recommend not skimping on the smoked paprika, it adds a perfect flavor finish to the soup.  

And just in case you're not 100% convinced yet that you must give this soup a whirl, it is highly endorsed by my 21-month-old daughter who gobbles down bowls full of the stuff on a regular basis!

Weeknight Creamy Potato Soup 


6-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

4 cups peeled and diced potatoes (I’ve used small white potatoes or russet, both work well)

½ onion (diced)

Salt & pepper to taste

2 cloves of garlic (smashed)

8 oz cream cheese (I use the kind that’s partially made with Greek yogurt)

Smoked paprika (to garnish)

Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (to garnish)

Combine 6 cups of broth, potatoes, onion and generous pinches of salt and pepper in a large dutch-oven style pot. Add a little more broth if you like, I usually use about 6 ½ cups or so. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle boil/simmer until the potatoes are tender (10-15 minutes).

Cut the cream cheese in chunks (this makes it melt faster) and add it to the pot. Stir until melted, then remove from heat and blend until smooth using an immersion blender or in batches in a conventional blender.

Serve hot, sprinkled with smoked paprika (trust me, this is AMAZING) and cheese if desired. 

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