Potato Soup with Smoked Gouda & Bacon
A Journey Without a Map —
“It’s in the not knowing that everything is still possible.” This is what my friends call a “Marilynism”; a personal philosophy and a nugget of wisdom that I seem to dispense when a friend reaches out for support when life feels uncertain, there are options to be weighed or decisions to be made.
It always seems so much easier to solve other people problems rather than my own. I have spent much of my professional life working as a graphic designer, or as I like to call it, a “marketing therapist”, helping other people find creative solutions to their problems.
I love the process of design – the sorting, sifting and looking beneath the surface, that is required to connect dots and reveal the true essence of the story that unfolds through the process. Today, that journey begins for me as I take my first step writing this, my first post to the Seasonal Muse. I am both excited, and a little terrified, but I also know that the journey will take me in directions I never imagined because that’s how design works. So I start today by embracing my own advice, “It’s in the not knowing that everything is still possible.”
Season: A Metaphor for Endings & New Beginnings
I thrive on inspiration – it’s what keeps my juices flowing, and keeps me moving forward and trying new things – it is the art of reinvention. That’s what I love about the seasons because they are really just a metaphor for endings and new beginnings. With the arrival of Fall, a shift occurs – in hours of daylight, layers of clothing, and also the types of food we are drawn to. Cooler weather means “comfort season” has arrived, and to me, the ultimate comfort food is a warm bowl of soup.
My first soup this season is potato soup, but it’s taken up a notch by the addition of smoked Gouda – a reduced fat version which adds a velvety and slightly smokey finish. Traditional recipes usually call for the addition of cream to give the soup body and richness. I love cream, but I don’t like how it makes my clothes fit, so I have a secret weapon I use instead – the addition of light cream cheese. It thickens the soup and has a similar mouth feel to cream, but a healthier option.
Following is my recipe for Potato Soup with Smoked Gouda and Bacon. Bon Appetite!
PREP TIME - Minutes
COOK TIME - Minutes
- 6 Slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 Onion, diced
- 2 Cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Carrots peeled, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 TBS Flour
- ½ tsp. Thyme, dried
- 6 Cups chicken stock
- 6 Medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 6 Cups chicken stock
- 1 8 oz Package light cream cheese (reduced fat)
- ½ Wheel Smoked gouda - cubed
- Salt and Pepper
- Scallions/sliced thin
- In the bottom of a large stock pot cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper-towel lined plate to drain. Refrigerate bacon - use as a garnish when the soup is served. Leave 1 TBS of Bacon Fat in the pan - pour off the rest. Do not clean the pot - the bottom is where all the flavor lives!
- Add onions, carrots and celery to pot, cook about 5 minutes till vegetables begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and the thyme - cook another two minutes - do not let the garlic burn. Sprinkle 2 TBS flour over vegetables to coat then stir and cook about 1 minute, then slowly add one cup of stock, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the potatoes and the remaining stock. Bring to gentle boil and cook about 10 minutes until potatoes begin to get tender - don't over cook or the potatoes will become too mushy. Reduce heat to low.
- Removed 4 cups of the soup and pour it into the container of the blender. Do not fill more than half full and use extreme caution when blending hot liquids. Hold the lid securely covered by a kitchen towel and start the blending process on low - gradually increase speed. Puree until smooth then add cream cheese and gouda. Continue blending till all the cheese is melted and incorporated into a smooth mixture.
- Pour back into pot and mix all to incorporate the smooth with the remaining chunky soup. Adjust flavor to personal preference by adding Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Serve: Microwave bacon on a paper towel till hot - about 30 seconds. Ladle soup into bowls and top with scallions, crisp bacon and additional grated gouda.