So many times when I’m in the kitchen, mustering up a new recipe, I tend to go beyond the necessities in making foods simple. I mean, not all dishes have to be complex in the usage of ingredients but this is the way I cook. To me, tossing in a little of this to balance out that augments the result. ‘This’ is needed and without ‘that’, the balance is off. Other times I tend to layer ingredients in order to bring out the underlying tastes of each flavor. Sometimes it is not necessary. Creole cooking is alike in the way it harmonizes regional foods with imported spices and merges French, Spanish and Italian cooking methods (just three in the melding pot) in creating layered, complex dishes. I’m going to say, that is the reason I tend to overdo.
When serving these multifarious dishes, many times in course style dining, I like something a little simpler to, as they say, cleanse the palate. As I say, a mouthwash. Like today’s simple, uncomplicated soup. Yes, many times soups are served as the first course but remember, I tend to do things a bit different. Simple in ingredients and without any type of meat broth, this one quickly becomes sophisticated enough to stand up with any type of meal. Enjoy!
Cream of Potato with Garlic & Nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups peeled cubed white potatoes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon minced onion
5 cups of water
6 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large bay leaf
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. When it starts to sizzle, add the potatoes, celery and onion. Slightly lower the heat and stir every so often until the vegetables are covered with the butter. When the edges of the potatoes turn translucent, add the water. Stir in the whole garlic cloves and the bay leaf. Cover and simmer on low for an hour and fifteen minutes. The vegetables should fall apart. Remove the bay leaf and using a immersion blender or counter blender, puree the soup to desired texture.
Add the cream to the puree and heat slowly until hot. Adjust with more salt if needed. Ladle soup into serving bowls and grate nutmeg over the top just enough to speckle the surface.
Note: This is a thin soup but if you prefer it thicker, make a paste using 2 tablespoons each of softened butter and flour. Whisk in pieces of mixture into the hot soup and cook another 10 minutes to thicken and cook the raw flour.
Do not attempt to garnish with chives, parsley or anything else to enhance the appearance. The potato, garlic and hints of nutmeg are all you need and the flavors should be undisturbed.