OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Lemony Potato Soup made for a cold winter’s day

OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Lemony Potato Soup made for a cold winter’s day

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Most Americans know Feb. 2 as Groundhog Day, but it’s also Ina Garten’s (aka the Barefoot Contessa) birthday.

Last Wednesday morning when I opened Sam Sifton’s New York Times Cooking newsletter, I was greeted with a photo of Garten’s Pureed Potatoes With Lemon and it immediately went on my “to-make” list.

But a snow/ice storm was coming. And as tempting as it was to sit down to a bowlful of mashed potatoes, I figured potato soup was marginally more appropriate. (I know I just wrote about potato soup back in early January, but this one is different. And potato soup is just so good. Don’t be surprised if I eventually write a “five ways to make potato soup” story, much like I’ve done with carrots, tomatoes and cauliflower in the past.)

So while everyone else was scrambling to buy milk, bread and eggs, my husband graciously volunteered to pick up gold potatoes and lemons for me from the grocery store. (He’s a good man. I don’t brag on him nearly often enough in this column.)

Converting the recipe from potato puree to silky soup was relatively easy, but rather than just eating mashed potatoes diluted with milk, I added a little onion and chicken broth.

Lemony Potato Soup

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided use
  • 1 cup whole milk OR half-and-half OR heavy cream
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • Minced chives, green onion, or parsley, optional garnish

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and translucent.

Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Add about 4 cups of the broth, enough to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a traditional blender, puree soup until it is almost smooth or completely smooth. A few small lumps are OK. Return soup to the heat. Stir in whole milk or half-and-half and enough additional broth to reach the desired texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until soup reaches desired serving temperature. Just before serving, cut the remaining butter into small cubes. Stir it and the lemon zest into the soup. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chives, green onion or parsley if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe inspired by “Modern Comfort Food” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter) via barefootcontessa.com

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