Although I’ve had a life long love affair with potatoes, I have generally steered clear of potato-based soups, as they very often contain copious amounts of butter and cream. Sure, anything called “Loaded Baked Potato Soup” must be amazingly wonderful, but every potato soup I’ve ever met has just been too heavy, too creamy, too rich for everyday consumption. Delicious? Of course. But definitely a treat for special occasions.
This soup, although it is creamy, has no added cream or butter. The potatoes themselves are starchy, and when they are cooked and blended with chicken stock the texture is so silky you won’t even miss the added dairy, I promise! To brighten up the final flavour a little bit I made a quick pea puree, and because I couldn’t resist a little bit of salty pork, I broiled a few slices of prosciutto and crumbled them on top. The result was immensely satisfying, but still light enough for a springtime meal.
While some soups require a ton of prep work and hours of cooking time on the stove, this whole soup (and accoutrements) comes together in something like 30 minutes, making it perfect for a weeknight meal. You could even put the potatoes, shallot and stock in the slow cooker in the morning, cook it on low all day, and simply puree it when you get home. You don’t even really have to puree the peas if you’re really in a hurry: simply toss the whole (fresh or frozen) peas in after you blend the potato mixture. Make it an even heartier meal by adding some chopped cooked ham in place of (or in addition to) the prosciutto.
This soup was just as tasty the next day. Although it’s nice when it’s fresh to swirl the pea puree artistically in the bowl and delicately place the prosciutto crumbles in a neat little pile, I can confirm that the flavours are just as good when everything is thrown together in a tupperware container and nuked in the office microwave. The recipe easily doubles, so make extra if you have more mouths to feed, or (like me) you love having leftovers for weekday lunches.
The next time you have a craving for something creamy and comforting but would like it also to be light and healthy, I urge you to give this soup a shot. To my American friends, happy Memorial Day! Be safe and have fun this weekend.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 4 medium-large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt & pepper to taste (if you're using store-bought stock, you might not need to add any salt)
- Additional water, if soup is too thick
- 1 cup cooked peas (fresh or frozen, thawed)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
- 2 tablespoons milk or water
- Additional water or milk, if puree is too thick
- 4-6 slices prosciutto, broiled in the oven until crisp (you could also use crumbled bacon or chopped cooked ham)
- In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until translucent and soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes and stir to combine. Pour in stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender (or transferring the soup to a blender in batches), puree soup well, until no lumps remain. If the soup is too thick (i.e. if it resembles mashed potatoes), add 1-2 cups more water until it reaches desired consistency.
- (This is optional - you can just add whole peas to the finished soup if you like) In a small blender or food processor, combine peas, oil/butter and milk and process until a smooth puree results. Add additional water or milk a tablespoon at a time if the mixture is too thick. (Note: I also had to strain my puree, because I have a weak blender!)
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of pea puree over each. Crumble one prosciutto slice over each bowl. Serve immediately.
- Soup will keep covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.