Peasant Potato Soup


Like many “foodies,” I learned a lot of my cooking from my parents at home as a child. Because I came along at the end of the Great Depression, there was one staple that always found its way to the table in our home – Potato Soup. And I hated it!

Then, by the time I got to my 7th grade home economics class, I started learning how to cook the “right way,” or at least the way the teacher thought we should cook. What was one of the first things we had to learn to make? Potato Soup! And I still hated it! My folks had a good laugh over me having to learn how to make something I detested.

In the early 70s, I found Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé (or Frankie, as she was known), and it changed the way I ate forever. After that, I found Recipes for a Small Planet by Ellen Buchman Ewald. In that was a recipe for – you guessed it – Potato Soup.

This recipe looked interesting, and with great fear and trepidation, on October 31, 1974 I tried it. (I know the date because I always date a recipe the first time I use it, and make comments on it.) To my total surprise, it was delicious! I continued to make it according to that recipe and since then I have altered or adjusted it a bit here and there. Here is the latest version that I made just this past week.





In 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, ssauté 1 large chopped onion, about 4 or 5 baby carrots (or 1 large carrot), and several potatoes cut into large chunks. I used one large Idaho potato and 2 medium-sized red potatoes. Because I like the color variation in the soup, I leave on the peel, which I love anyway, and which is quite nutritious.

Once the onions were transparent, I poured in a can of fat-free chicken broth.

I added freshly ground sea salt, ½ teaspoon chili powder (or you can use paprika), fresh marjoram, and about 1 teaspoon dill weed. I didn’t have any this time, but usually I like to add caraway seed, as well.

Let that simmer until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart. This takes about an hour.

Just before serving, I added about 4 cups of non-fat milk. I think I should have added a little less because the soup ended up too thin. Bring this to a simmer for about a minute, but don’t boil.

Ladle into bowls and eat with grilled cheese or freshly baked bread. Need I tell you that my attitude toward Potato Soup has changed dramatically? Try it, you’ll like it!


A hui hou!

5 thoughts on “Peasant Potato Soup”

  1. I have always love potato soup! It was not a recipe that showed up in our (mostly) Cuban food diet, but it made its way to us kids on a tray as a comfort food when we were sick in bed…. My mom used to make a delicious potato soup and I never got her recipe but I play on variations of it from time to time….I love them all! 😉

    1. I almost felt silly putting a recipe for potato soup online, because it is so common. But I also know that young cooks enjoy finding something like that. It’s not the sort of thing you’ll find in most gourmet cook books! 🙂 My brother made a variation of what I put by adding more spices and mushrooms. Everyone has their favorite version.

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