Monday, November 2, 2015

Catching My Breath - Creamy Potato Spinach Soup

Earworm Alert:

I don't wanna be left behind
Distance was a friend of mine
Catching breath in a web of lies
I've spent most of my life
Riding waves, playing acrobat
Shadowboxing the other half
Learning how to react
I've spent most of my time

Catching my breath, letting it go
Turning my cheek for the sake of this show
Now that you know, this is my life
I won't be told what's supposed to be right
Catch my breath, no one can hold me back, I ain't got time for that
Catch my breath, won't let them get me down, it's all so so simple now

I love Kelly Clarkson, but enough is enough. (Cuing Mother Superior Helen Gaius Mohiam's voice):    Get out of my mind! Yeah, that worked.

I always look forward to the end of Daylight Savings Time, because I get an extra hour of sleep. Except this year. This morning, at 4:30 AM (officially 3:30 AM), I headed downstairs with Chelsea and gave her a luxurious, much-needed bath. Since  I was now wide awake (Chelsea napped in her bath) I made my coffee and started to prepare this luxurious, much-needed soup. My other cooking plans got put on hold so I could start planting the brassicas.  Which was a REALLY stupid idea, because I overdid yesterday and now I was about to overdo today. Am I in denial regarding the fibromyalgia?  Mmm, I would have to say "yes." So despite my achy muscles and headache, I plunged right back into the garden taking on a major planting project.  All those brassicas and lettuces, nine seedlings to a pot and I don't remember how many pots but it was a lot.  So I only got through half of them before I had to cry "uncle", wave the white flag, and come out with my hands up.

Anyway, I didn't get my extra hour of sleep, and I'll still have to give it back come spring. That's the part that really sucks. The part that doesn't suck is that we bought a new car for Robert. Unexpected, especially the deal that allowed us to swap the 2013 for the 2015, virtually even Steven. For the first time in I don't know how many years, there is nary a red car in the Rothfeld family.

And I baked some blueberry muffins, but that's tomorrow's story. I also hurt like hell, but that's everyday's story.

I have been deliberately ignoring the news.  It's all bad, and bad news can be overwhelming when I feel like this. The only presidential candidate I can even bear to think about right now is Dr. Ben Carson. He is so soothing to listen to, even when he says something which causes liberals to go running for their blood pressure medication. Fortunately, I have low blood pressure.

Let's talk about soup. If you follow this blog, you know how I get about soup; I probably spend more time working on soup recipes than I do with okra. There's a reason for that, beyond my simple love of soup: I can usually get soup down my aging gullet, and more importantly, keep it down.  I try to stick to textures that won't cause problems, and I have found a delicious keeper with this Creamy Potato Spinach Soup. Unlike a baked potato soup, this is not overly thick or rich. The creaminess comes mostly from the potatoes, which are whirled smooth with an immersion blender before the spinach is added. I did use a small amount of heavy cream, but if you want to leave it out, no harm no foul.

Creamy Potato Spinach Soup

6 slices regular bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced thin
1 large clove of garlic, sliced thin
6 baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 cups of water
4 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes, broken up
2 bay leaves
1 rounded teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, all liquid squeezed out
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
kosher salt, white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large pot, cook the bacon until well-rendered and as crisp as you like.  With a slotted spoon remove the bacon to paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat, and add the butter to melt.  Cook the leeks and garlic in the pot until the leeks are soft and beginning to caramelize.

Add the potatoes, water, bouillon cubes, bay leaves and thyme. Season with salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and cook another 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. With an immersion blender, puree the potatoes until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, the spinach, the cream, and the nutmeg, and bring up the heat to just under boiling.  Add the cheese and stir until melted. Serve garnished with the cooked bacon, or not. Au naturel for me, thank you.

Gorgeous soup. Enjoy.

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