velvety potato soup

Posted on Mar 12, 2013 in Food

potato soup

First things first, thank you all so much for your kind feedback on the new site design. I’m so glad you guys are liking it! And I’m super glad to hear that you guys reading on iPads, iPods and iPhones are able to read on those devices again. Thank you so much for being patient with me while I figured out that issue and for sticking around while I’ve been M.I.A. getting the redesign launched. You guys are the best.

potato soup

In honor of the new design, I have one of my all-time favorite comfort foods to share with you this afternoon—potato soup. I just knew I had to post a recipe on redesign launch day, because the new design really shines on recipe posts! And it seemed quite fitting to welcome a new era of my blog with something that is what I think I do best—a classic recipe from my childhood turned healthy.

potato soup

Growing up, potato soup was one of the meals that was on a weekly rotation in our house during the cooler seasons. It was filling, it was warm, it was delicious and, really, it was a crazy cheap way to feed a family. When’s the last time you looked at the price of a bag of potatoes? Last weekend, I snagged a 10 pound bag for about $3. For someone who’s on a tight grocery budget, potatoes are a great way to help fill out a menu and add some cheap, nutritious calories.

potato soup

I know the white potato’s reputation has taken a hit over the past few years. Too starchy. Too high of a glycemic index. Too many carbs. Too few nutrients. But, honestly, I truly believe that, when prepared correctly and eaten in moderation, white potatoes can be a part of any healthy diet. I think the problem with potatoes starts to come in when we deep fry them in hydrogenated oil or mash them with a pound of butter and a quart of heavy cream  and a cup of salt. When it comes down to the actual numbers for potatoes, they have a pretty great box score. Each medium potato has a ton of fiber and almost 30% of your daily intake of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Potassium. In fact, a potato has more Potassium than a banana does! And all for about 100 calories. To me, potatoes are one of the gifts from the earth and should be enjoyed happily and without guilt. Oh, and maybe with a salad on the side just to round things out.

potato soup

My go-to potato soup recipe is one I snagged from a friend years and years ago and then tweaked to my liking. It’s pretty much the most amazing soup you’ll ever taste. But it’s also not moderate or light in any sense of the imagination. It’s got half a pound of bacon, a full cup of heavy cream, a bunch of cheese, plus some cream cheese and at least a stick of butter. 2007-era Paula Deen would be proud. It’s one of those soups that I make once or so a year, enjoy the heck out of it, and then stash the recipe until the next winter.

I decided I wanted to try my hand at a lighter, everyday version of my favorite potato soup. Something that was light enough to eat on all week for lunch, but still managed to keep some of the rich, deep flavor of the not-so-healthy version. By using smaller amounts of the flavorful stuff (bacon and butter, mostly), upping the aromatic veggies and herbs and thickening the soup with lower-calorie Greek yogurt, I was able to slash the calories by almost 600 calories per serving while still keeping a velvety texture and a ton of flavor. Not too shabby!

before

I’m not quite ready to throw away my decadent potato soup recipe quite yet, but this one is going to be a great everyday substitute for when I’m feeling the craving for some potato soup, but am not wanting to eat a bowlful of 800 calories.

Velvety Potato Soup

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 pounds of potatoes, peeled and diced (about 6 medium)
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1-1/2 cups skim milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, etc. for topping

Instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium heat, cook the bacon—flipping frequently—until brown and cooked through. Remove from pan, crumble and set aside.
  2. Add butter to the bacon grease in the pot, when melted, add in the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add the onions and celery. Cook until all veggies are tender, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add in potatoes, stock, milk, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are very, very tender.
  4. Remove soup from heat and either using an immersion blender, or blending in batches in a standard blender, puree until very, very smooth. If you prefer a chunkier potato soup, you can also use a potato masher to only mash up a few potatoes, or only puree half of the mixture.
  5. Once the soup is pureed, stir in the Greek yogurt until well incorporated. Spoon into bowls and top with reserved bacon crumbles plus other desired toppings.

Nutrition Info

Serving size: About 1-1/2 cups. Servings per recipe: About 8.

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Do you have a recipe that is maybe not the best for you but is so well-loved that you refuse to give it up?

7 Comments

  1. What a great recipe, and thank you for sharing the lighter version! I’m trying to get healthy, so this will be wonderful to try. A recipe that I love but is not exactly the healthiest for me, hmmm…a hard choice but I would have to say French Toast. It’s delicious but two or three servings later, it adds up! Hence, it’s a treat every now and then :)

  2. I’m so hungry now!! And I love how easy it is to print the recipe.

  3. This looks amazing, Cassie! If only we weren’t in the middle of a heat wave Down Under, it’d be on the stove in a jiffy. I’m definitely filing this one for later in autumn/winter :)

  4. beautiful pics!

  5. I love those stats! Definitely making this SOON. I hope you do more makeovers!! I have a gourmet chicken spaghetti made with white wine and mushrooms sauteed in butter. The sauce is originally a mayonnaise and sour cream parmesan mixture but I used some Greek yogurt and reduced fat mayo last time and used whole grain pasta and could hardly tell the difference. But I make the ultimate, decadent version at least once a year. It holds a special place in my heart because it was the first dinner I made all on my own one night when my Mom was under the weather :)

  6. Your soup looks so good, love the addition of cheese and bacon!

  7. Made this over the weekend as I had greek yogurt and potatoes to use up. It was really good! At a football party that day we discovered 2 other people that made potato soup that morning and 1 other person that almost did. Lol. Cold weather I guess. No one else did a healthier version though. I like a chucky soup, so I only blended some and the only thing that fell slightly short for me was the look of it (not creamy dreamy like yours). I may try it your way next time :-) and until then we just won’t make it for company. Very tasty and not healthy tasting. Thanks!

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