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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 8 servings
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Serving size: About 1-1/2 cups. Servings per recipe: About 8.