Potato soup is a perfect comfort food meal for a cold winter day, but I don’t usually have time to make it the long way, with a long-simmered ham bone and a homemade roux. So this version whips up in about half an hour after you’ve made it the first time, making it workable for a week-night. It also makes lots of leftovers, making it perfect to pack in lunches the rest of the week.
5 large potatoes, diced into bite-size pieces (the big, brown, starchy russets or Idaho, not the red or yellow ones; skins on or off to your own preference)
6 cups of chicken broth (You can substitute vegetable broth)
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2-4 cloves garlic, to taste, minced finely (you can use 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder if you don’t have fresh)
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
1-2 cups whole milk or cream
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup potato starch
Shredded cheese (Parmesan and sharp cheddar work well, or you can try blue cheese crumbles for an extra kick)
Cooked bacon or chopped ham
Chopped fresh parsley or chives
ground sea salt and pepper
In the soup pot, heat the oil or butter over medium-high heat. Fry the onions until they start to get translucent, then add in the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds until it gets fragrant.
Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until a fork goes easily into the potatoes.
While the potatoes are cooking, prep your garnishes. Cook the bacon up first and drain on a paper towel. While that is on, shred your cheese and chop your herbs.
Remove the pot from the heat
Stir the starch into the milk until the chunks break up (use 1 cup of milk if the soup looks thin, 2 if it is really thick) and then stir it into the soup until it thickens up.
Add the sour cream and stir until it is incorporated
Ladle into bowls and top with garnishes. Don’t add the garnishes directly to the whole pot, because then when you heat up leftovers you’ll get soggy bacon and slimy greens. Instead, store the leftover garnishes mixed up in a separate bag, heat up the soup, and then add them to the hot soup.
Potato starch doesn’t get cooked down like corn starch. If you want to use corn starch as a thickener instead, add 2 tablespoons in cold water to the soup and let it simmer until thickened (repeat if necessary). Then remove from heat and add the milk and sour cream
To cool down the rest of the pot quickly to get it into the fridge, set the whole pot in a plugged sink and fill the sink around it with cold water while stirring the soup. You may have to drain and refill the sink once, but it should be cool enough to put away as leftovers in five minutes instead of sitting out for an hour.