Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baked Potato and Greens Soup with Potato-Wedge Croutons

I had a few potatoes to use.  My potatoes were on the edge of if I didn't use them soon, I wouldn't be using them at all.  I really REALLY wanted to make a corn and potato chowder, but alas, I couldn't find a suitable recipe.  So, I grabbed 6 of my favorite vegan cookbooks and went searching through the soup sections.  I settled on Baked Potato and Greens Soup with Potato-Wedge Croutons in the Veganomicon cookbook.  This is the third recipe I've made from the cookbook.  I HIGHLY recommend Penne Vodka.  Excellent recipe!  This potato soup recipe is excellent, too.  It's not your run of the mill, white, cream based, fat laden soup.  It has character and excellent taste.
First, I nuked the potatoes.  I only had 5 potatoes, not 6, but that just meant that I would have less or skinnier potato-wedge croutons.  I sauteed the onions until they were nice and brown.  After the onions were done, I added spices and sauteed for a few more minutes.  I didn't have any fennel seed, so I ended up using cumin seed instead and I have to say, the results were GREAT.  I don't know how this would have tasted with fennel seed, but I really like it with cumin seed.  After the spices were sauteed for a couple of minutes, I added 1/4 cup of wine.  Well, of course that meant I had to drink the remaining wine, which was only 1 glass full.
I chopped the potatoes and added them, with the broth, to the pan to bring to a boil.  After the broth began boiling, I added spinach instead of kale.  I didn't have any kale on hand and I figure if I have a similar veggie on hand, it's OK to use that.
The soup had to simmer for about 20 minutes, so I made the potato-wedge croutons.  OK, these potato-wedge croutons are DA BOMB!  I could make these wedges as a side dish to another meal.  Oh my goodness, they are CRAZY good!  I cut the potatoes into wedges and then moistened them with water and rolled them in a combination of cornmeal, smoked paprika, California-blend garlic, and some salt.  The recipe called for regular paprika and minced garlic, but I wanted a little more flavor (hence the smoked paprika) and I didn't want to mess with minced garlic in a breading mixture (call me lazy).
I pan fried them in a little olive oil (versus using the spray oil on them), and then set them aside until the soup was done.
And YES, they tasted as good as they look.  Actually, the tasted better than they look. When the soup was finished simmering, I used a potato masher to smush up the potatoes.  The recipes said to mash about half of them.  Who knew when half were mashed?!?!?!  So, I just mashed all of them about halfway.  I figured that would work.  I added about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of original flavor almond milk.  
I stirred the mixture up to see if it was too thick.  It's not a thin soup.  I could probably add a bit more broth to it and most likely I will when I heat it up to eat tomorrow or Thursday.  But, I enjoyed it just as it is with the potato-wedge excellent, yummy, scrumptious crouton.  This is an excellent soup.  I will definitely make this again.  

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