February 7, 2013

Potato and scallion Super Bowl soup

The consistency of my potato and scallion soup wasn't bad for a guy without a blender.
We'll continue my Super Bowl recaps today with a bit of a "souper bowl" rundown of the potato and scallion soup that came out of the pot piping hot.

Remember this soup is a slightly modified version of a Food Network leek and potato soup discovered by the official fiancĂ©e of Rick's Food Critique. I didn't have leeks on hand, but I did have a fair share of extra scallions left over from my Baltimore imitation crab cakes. Those scallions had to go somewhere, and a soup seemed as good a place as any.

Preparation started out with no major hiccups. I sliced my scallions, started cooking them in butter, and turned away to finish chopping up potatoes. I'd already peeled the spuds, a time-consuming endeavor that left me feeling a little lazy, like Beetle Bailey.

Laziness can be deadly in the kitchen. In my case, it almost led to a scallion disaster. When I returned to my little green onions, I found brown butter that was starting to smoke and vegetables best described as "well done."

To put it mildly, this posed a problem. Since I used excess scallions for my soup, I didn't have any more available for starting over. Going to the store was an option, I suppose, but I didn't consider it an attractive one. Then I would have had extra scallions, saddling me with the very same issue that led me to attempt this soup in the first place.

After a moment of panicked stirring, frantic burner killing and thoughtful reading of my ingredient list, I made a decision: carry on. The scallions didn't seem too badly toasted, and there would hopefully be enough vegetable stock, cream and buttermilk to cover up any unpleasant flavors.

About 45 minutes later -- after I'd poured in the potatoes and stock and set it all to simmer -- another challenge presented itself. This time the recipe called for an immersion blender, a little piece of equipment with which I wasn't blessed. Somewhat embarrassingly, I didn't even have a regular blender handy. So I pulled out the potato masher and whisk and did all the blending manually. Fortunately it proved to be easier going than mashed potatoes, which I often make by hand.

With some dairy products and seasoning, the soup was complete. All that was left was tasting it. And what a taste!

My potato and scallion soup turned out to be roughly akin to a liquid baked potato. It had a substantial savoriness to it, which I'm attributing to the well-done scallions. My theory is that it wouldn't have tasted as good without that happy mistake.

Having said that, there are two potential improvements I'd like to try with this recipe in the future. The first is the introduction of bacon into the soup. The second is a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheddar cheese on top. With those ingredients, it really would be a baked potato in a bowl. And that's something that could pick up some yardage in culinary circles.

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