A couple of week’s ago I made some excellent creamy Potato Zucchini Cheese Soup. But I wanted to verify ingredient amounts before writing about it. The next time I made it, I diced the vegetables uniformly and carefully measured. I set them to bubbling along. Family members were starting to hang out around the stove. It was time to add the milk and cream, so I opened the refrigerator.
After a prolonged glut of milk in the household, on this evening all I had was 1.5 cups out of the 5 I needed for the amount of soup I was preparing. The cream turned out to be sour. It was already 7:30 PM and I had run 15 miles that afternoon, my longest run in a year. Panic was seeming like a viable option.
When I determined we at least had cheese, I felt better. I added enough water to the milk to equal 4 cups, but not enough to compensate for the lost cream volume. My husband came and stirred the soup, while I sprinkled in the cheese. He and the girls sang opera style about soup making and other kitchen events. And then I tentatively ladled this Poor Man’s Soup into my bowl.
But let me take a break and give you my original recipe for the hearty, creamy version of
Potato Zucchini Cheese Soup:
10 cups diced potato – I used Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, then diced into approximately 1 inch cube pieces
⅓ cup dried onion – Mine was dehydrated from my garden last year
2 cups carrot – Peeled, then sliced into about ½ inch thick rounds
¾ teaspoon celery seed – I simply rarely use fresh celery because I have a hard time chewing it, even when cooked
1 and ½ teaspoons salt – I prefer sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups grated zucchini – I used some frozen from last year’s garden
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons chicken base
1 cup cream
5 cups milk – Divided into 3 and 2 cup portions
1 cup white flour
6 cups grated cheddar cheese – My favorite is always Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese
So, the first part of the preparation went fine. I put the first 8 ingredients (potatoes ➡ chicken base) in a large pot (8.5 quart/8 liter). I turned it down to a simmer, to cook the veggies until the potatoes were tender and the carrots somewhat soft, and the zucchini thawed and stirred in.
The next step, after it is all cooked, it to play with the immersion blender. If you don’t have one, I am sorry. This part will not be as much fun, but it might work reasonably with a potato masher. Blend or mash until this soup base is fairly uniform and creamy in texture.
Ideally, now it is time to add the 3 cup portion of milk and the 1 cup of cream, with the pot still on a low setting so as not to scorch the milk. While that is heating, with it being stirred often, the other 2 cups of milk can be used to form a paste with the flour. My daughter, Chef Betharoni, says the best way to do this is to have the flour in a bowl and gradually add the milk, mixing it after every couple of tablespoons to avoid clumps in the flour. So that is what I do for the original recipe. I did not bother with thickening the poor man’s version…
Now, while continuously stirring the contents of the pot, the cheese can be sprinkled in, until it is all melted and everything heated through, which shouldn’t be long. This is very good, satisfying soup for a cool or stormy spring evening. It makes enough to serve about 6 hungry adults. We are generally a hungry group.
My poor man’s version of the soup actually didn’t turn out too badly, either. Everyone assured me that it was quite reasonable, and the leftovers were not due to lack of enthusiasm in the eaters. I had been able to buy cream before eating it for lunch the next day, so poured a good quarter cup of cream in my bowl, too. That worked out quite well.
I guess the moral to the story is the same as the old story of Stone Soup. Add what you have, and pretty soon, you end up with good soup. But always add a little cream when you can.