BLUE CHEESE POTATO SOUP
50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker
by Lynn Alley
My friend Julie and I were discussing the merits of slow cookers (she was about to spring big), and my findings with them. Funny how your ideas can become so much clearer when talking to a friend. "What I want to do is to show people that if they learn a few simple tricks about handling ingredients, they can turn out a delicious first-rate dish with a minimum of effort and without buying a bunch of exotic stuff that they'll never use again," I said. I love potatoes and just about any kind of cheese, and this soup is a perfect example of what I was talking about. The soup is made with a few simple ingredients, and you add flavor by sauteing the onion and celery and also by adding garlic. (Adding the garlic at the last minute retains its very pungent, garlicky flavor, which I like. If you prefer a milder garlic flavor, then add it along with the onions at the beginning of the cooking time.)
Serves 4 to 6
• 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 celery ribs, sliced
• 1½ pounds small red or white potatoes, skins on
• 6 cups water
• 8 ounces blue cheese (domestic, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or your favorite)
• 4 cloves garlic
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Chopped fresh rosemary, for garnishing
In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the celery and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer the onion and celery to a 7-quart slow cooker and add the potatoes (but no water). Cover and cook on LOW for about 4 hours, or until the potatoes are very tender.
Add the water and blue cheese. Using a garlic press, mince the garlic into the soup. Add the salt to taste.
Using a handheld immersion blender, puree some of the ingredients to give the soup thickness and texture. For a more rustic feel, you can simply mash some of the potatoes with a potato masher. I like to leave it very lumpy and rustic looking with plenty of skin intact.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Grind the fresh pepper over the top and serve garnished with rosemary.