July 26, 2013

Dill Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon (Recipe)

I know what you're thinking.  Well, if you live in the same geographical region that I do, and are reading this post within a week or two of it's initial publication, anyway.  It's hot outside.  Mind-numbingly hot, with whole weeks at a time in the triple digits, which is uncharacteristic for the Northwest.  So what's going on with a potato soup?

Well, it's several different things.  The first is merely a matter of being cheap.  Just as in summers past, our house has expanded to contain guests.  Not Lotus this time, but Grasshopper, his girlfriend, and a pirate.  Potatoes go a long way, and this is Idaho, after all.  We always have them on hand, even more so than other staples like rice and beans.  We've eaten them baked, fried, mashed, and a soup only continues the progression.  The second thing is that we were gifted a bunch of fresh dill by my mother-in-law.  Our first instinct was to pair the fresh dill with fresh fish, but then our minds returned to the first point.  I still wanted a classic pairing, and dill and potatoes go quite nicely together.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly in the setting I've described, this soup doesn't require the use of the oven.  Just one burner on the stove, and only for half an hour.  It might not be actively cool like a gazpacho or raw food, but it seemed like a good plan for feeding six people on a budget on a hot day.

I started by roughly chopping six large potatoes.  I don't ever peel potatoes--most of the nutrients are in the peel, and their texture doesn't bother me, even in mashed potatoes--but be sure to give them a good scrubbing before cooking to get all the dirt off.  This went into a stock pot along with a large onion and two celery stalks, also roughly chopped, a head of garlic (peeled and crushed), a quarter cup of finely minced fresh dill, 1/4 cup of butter, five cups of chicken or vegetable stock, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about forty minutes.

Once the potatoes are done add twelve ounces of evaporated milk along with two tablespoons of lemon juice and two tablespoons of olive oil, adjust your seasonings to taste, and puree the soup in batches in a blender or, if you're lucky enough to have one, blend it with an immersion blender.  Divide the soup into six bowls and top each with a teaspoon of minced fresh dill and a quarter cup of thinly sliced smoked salmon.  I didn't have any on hand, but if you don't want to use the salmon or want to be especially decadent, you could also add homemade croutons of rye bread.  So there you have it, a simple potato soup--perhaps out of place in the middle of summer, but truly worth eating when you are trying to save time, money, and effort.


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