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Potato Soup

This was my grandma Fern Vize’s recipe.  She was raised in the Dutch region of Pennsylvania.  Actually, the “Dutch” really meant “Deutsche” or German, and with a name like Hostetler, you can’t get much more German than that.  As a kid, we ate this soup any time we were in need of some extra comforting.  It doesn’t require much effort and tastes so much better than anything you can buy.  My oldest daughter used to beg me to make it for her.  I’ve modified it only a little to enhance flavor and ease of preparation.  I send it off to you with love and I hope it brings you great comfort too.

The Stuff You Need:

For each person:

1 large Potato, peeled and diced (I like Yukon Golds for this soup)

1/2 a large Onion, diced (for 2 people, use the whole onion, and so on)

2 tablespoons finely chopped Celery, or Celery Leaves – or – 1 tablespoon Celery Seed

Butter or Oil to saute the potatoes, onions, and celery

1/4 teaspoon caraway seed per large potato (optional)

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Garnishes: Dried or fresh Parsley, Paprika, a pat of Butter.

For the roux:

1 tablespoon Flour per potato used in the soup. (For gluten free try potato or brown rice flour, or an all purpose gluten free mix).

1 tablespoon Butter per potato used in the soup.

Additional Flour and Butter to make more roux, if needed

Here's How It's Done:

  1. Add some butter or oil to a large pot or frying pan and preheat on medium high heat.  Add the potatoes, onions, and celery and saute for a few minutes.  You don’t have to cook them all the way through; just long enough to get a little color.  The idea is to reduce the starchiness of the potato and to enhance the flavor of all three main ingredients.
  2. If you used a frying pan, transfer your potatoes and such into a soup pot and add enough water to cover potatoes.  Add caraway and celery seed now, if using.  Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once you’ve reached a boil, reduce heat to low and uncover the pot.  Allow to cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. To make a roux to thicken your soup, measure out your flour into a small frying pan.  Place the pan of flour on a low burner and “toast” the flour, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or whisk.  This keeps the flour from imparting a pasty taste.  Once your flour has browned ever so slightly, whisk in the same amount of butter as you did flour, stirring constantly for only a minute or two.  If your potatoes in the soup pot are not quite done yet, set aside the roux, until they are cooked through.
  4. When the potatoes are tender, ladle out some potato water from your soup pot and pour it into your roux, whisking constantly until smooth.  Be careful, it can bubble and spatter at this point.
  5. Stir soup and then whisk the roux into the soup.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Soup should start to thicken.  If not thick enough, make a little more roux.  If too thick, you can thin it out with water or milk.
  6. If desired, slightly mash some of the potato chunks with a potato masher, or use an immersion blender if you prefer a smoother texture.
  7. Ladle into bowls.  Garnish with parsley, paprika and a pat of butter.  Salt & pepper to taste.

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