Dutch Potato Soup
We’re big on soup, both at home and at my restaurant, Union Street Cafe. I come by my Big Soup Love honestly. My mother kept us fed and healthy on a variety of mostly-vegetarian soups, soups made from cookbooks with names like Diet for a Small Planet and the Vegetarian Epicure. This Dutch Potato Soup was a childhood favourite of mine, a recipe I had memorized by the time I left home. I’ve made it at home, in a makeshift campsite kitchen on Salt Spring Island and at the Cafe, and it’s always hit the spot.
While the ingredients look humble, the flavour is big and comforting. You can even leave out the cheese and it’s still very delicious. As always with soup, the key to success is seasoning. Add salt, then taste taste taste, adding a little more if you think it needs it. A crusty loaf of bread and a spinach salad with dried cranberries and chopped apples would be lovely things to serve alongside this on a dreary January evening.
Dutch Potato Soup
adapted from Anna Thomas’ Vegetarian Epicure
5 medium Potatoes, cubed
2 teaspoons Salt
1/3 cup Butter
2 large onions, diced
2 teaspoons Dill Seed, lightly crushed (or Cumin)
2 Bay Leaves
3 tablespoons Flour
2 cups Milk
6 oz. Gouda, grated (about 2 cups, try the Fox Hill Cheese House )
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Freshly ground Pepper
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan with the salt and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, 10-15 minutes depending on size. Leave the potatoes and their water in the pot, but turn off the heat. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the onions. Stir and cook until onions are clear and tender, about 5 minutes, then add the dill seed and bay leaves. Sprinkle in the flour, and stirring constantly with a whisk or a wooden spoon, slowly add the milk. When the mixture is smooth and thickened, scrape it all into the soup pot with the potatoes. Turn the heat back on to medium low under the soup pot and combine everything. Sprinkle in the cheese, stirring until it melts, then add the paprika and Worcestershire. Taste for salt and add a few grinds of pepper before serving to your delighted family.