When I was growing up, we used a few garden vegetables as soon as they were harvested: red potatoes were on that list. My grandmother had a special soup she created just for them. Thick and delicious, it would fill my teenage stomach right up.
Her recipe holds memories of our growing and eating food from the garden. I’m sharing it so others can sense what it felt like to be a teenager during a hot Utah summer. While I do not have a word-for-word recipe to share, I can explain how I like to make it.
Start by making a good chicken broth. I like boiling the remains of a roasted chicken to make mine — bones, skin and all. I recommend at least three hours of a good boil. Next, add ground black pepper, one diced onion, and a few red potatoes (you will use more potatoes later). I like making the broth a day beforehand and refrigerating it overnight before draining it. This extra step will bring out even more flavor and nutrition from the chicken bones.
Cut all red potatoes into quarters. How many potatoes? That depends on how much soup you want to make. Have peas and mint leaves ready, along with your choice of milk or cream.
Drain your broth, placing onions and potatoes back in for more flavor after removing bones, then, bringing the stock to a rolling boil. Add your potatoes and boil until they are soft. With the heat still on, add milk/cream, slowly stirring constantly. This process should cause the potatoes to break up and thicken. When you're happy with the thickness, turn the burner to low, and add salt and pepper to taste. The soup’s nearly ready.
Gather everyone for dinner. Add peas and mint right before dishing up into serving size bowls to eat. Have extra mint leaves, shredded cheese and bacon available to top portions with.
This dish is endlessly versatile. Make it as thick or as salty or as creamy as your tastebuds dictate. You will likely need to tackle it a few times to get the hang of it. Just know it’s worth it. It’s so easy to make (and eat!) after spending a lovely day in the garden.
A few modifications include:
- If you don’t have fresh garden peas, substitute with frozen peas.
- No time to create chicken stock? Use the store-bought variety, adding chicken bouillon.
- If you want to swap out the milk and/or cream with a dairy-free alternative, try almond milk. Canned coconut milk is also an excellent replacement for cream.