|Finished soup in the pot... chunks of potatoes swimming in cream|
with flecks of marjoram and thyme.
But he actually loves potato soup, so a weeknight dinner became an opportunity to test a recipe, too. I have at least a dozen recipes in community and other Texas cookbooks for variations of this creamy soup, but I ended up trying the one below because I had (or could fudge) all the ingredients on hand. How Czech is it? I don’t know, but Janak is certainly a Czech last name (the recipe contributor), so I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Here it is copied straight out of the book.
by Mary Jo Janak
from Tempting Recipes, collected by Court Sacred Heart #797, Catholic Daughters of America, Hallettsville, TX, 2005 (4th Edition)
1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
2 cups chicken broth
6 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon flour
5 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon thyme
salt and pepper
Cook potatoes in broth until tender. Remove from heat; do not drain. Cook bacon until crisp. Drain. Saute onion in bacon grease until golden. Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Slowly stir in buttermilk. Cook until mixture thickens. Add onions, potatoes and liquid and thyme. Heat to near boil. Salt and pepper and garnish with bacon. Serves 6.*
|There's almost nothing on earth that smells more|
delicious than onions sauteing in bacon fat.
I've made potato soup my entire adult life almost exclusively from a recipe I got in 8th grade Home Economics in 1980, because I don't have any "family" recipes for potato soup. But, I know the potato was an important foodstuff in what is now the Czech Republic when the majority of people (including my foremothers) immigrated. In fact, in Moravia in the 19th century, the potato was crucial to survival. There was a saying in Moravia - "potatoes and cabbage; that's all our being." The poor, especially in the more mountainous regions, heavily relied upon potatoes for day to day meals because they were relatively easy to grow. Cooks made things like dumplings, pancakes, bread and pastry dough, and, of course, soup.
After testing the unadulterated recipe above, I whirred my son's up in the blender (he doesn't like chunks of veggies.) We all garnished additionally with cheddar cheese and diced scallions like our bowls contained a liquified baked potato. The soup was actually delicious... very rich (bacon fat, butter and cream!!) with a strong, fresh herb taste. I'll be eating salads for the next couple of days to tip the nutritional scales in my favor for this week.
|Potatoes cut into 1/2" chunks simmering in chicken broth|
to which the thyme and marjoram were added.
"The Wallachian Potato," article by Kevin Hannan, KJT News, March 1988.
"Wallachia Kitchen," essay by Milena Habustova, Roznov, Moravia, Czech Republic, date unknown.