Almost Instant, but With Scratch-Made Flavor
A hearty, homemade soup is just the thing to take the chill from your bones on a cold or wet day. A busy schedule can limit your options, though: If you don't have time to simmer a scratch-made soup for hours, the only solution is often high-sodium, canned soups. This rich, creamy potato soup recipe is an exception. Made with frozen hash browns, it comes together in just 30 minutes.
Total Time: 25 minutes | Prep Time: 8 minutes | Serves: 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 bag (30 to 32 ounce) frozen shredded hash browns
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper, or more to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
- 8 ounces ham, diced small
- 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 cups (approximately 1/2 pound) shredded sharp cheddar, or other cheese
- In a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil or butter over a medium-high burner. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent but not browned. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer.
- While the onions cook, microwave the quart of chicken broth. When the garlic has cooked for one minute in the soup pot, add the warmed broth and the hash browns. The broth should be enough to more or less cover the potatoes; add a small amount of water if necessary. The potatoes don't have to be entirely submerged.
- Turn the burner to high and bring the pot to a full rolling boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the first cup of cream, and puree with an immersion blender. The soup should be very thick, almost pasty, at this point.
- Add the remaining cream, stirring constantly, until the soup reaches a still-thick but smooth and spoon-able consistency. You may not need the entire second cup. Taste the soup at this point, and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Bring the soup back to a simmer, and stir in any add-ins if you're using them. Remove the soup from the heat—it will scorch easily now that it's pureed—and portion it into bowls. Garnish with the chopped parsley, if you're using it, and serve hot.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.