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Creamy Potato Soup with Pancetta Croutons

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Serves six as a main course or eight as a first course.

Yields about 8 cups.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 81

Here's a soup that's utterly pleasing—smooth and full-bodied without being heavy, thanks to starchy russet potatoes and just a little cream to enrich the flavor. Pair it wth a green salad for a simple but satisfying meal.

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions (8 oz. total), chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 lb. russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch chunks
  • 4 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup light or heavy cream, plus more as needed for garnish
  • 1 recipe Pancetta Croutons

Melt the butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not at all browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, stir, pour in the broth, and add the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, partially cover, reduce the heat to medium low or low and simmer gently until the potatoes are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.

Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender (being careful to fill the blender only two-thirds full and vent the lid). If the soup is too thick to blend, add a little of the milk. Pulse the blender in short bursts and avoid overworking the soup.

Rinse the soup pot, and return the soup to it. Add the milk and cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with a generous handful of the pancetta croutons. Garnish with a thread of cream, if you like.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 330; Fat (g): fat g 17; Fat Calories (kcal): 150; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 9; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 35; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 540; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 40; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Very tasty soup, but needs an herb to save it from being too bland. We've enjoyed it with rosemary. Dill or thyme would also be good. The croutons are a must.

Excellent soup and not hard. Even good with gluten-free croutons, home made of course for those of us with the celiac thing going on. Look forward to making this again as the cold weather starts.

Excellent recipe. The pancetta croutons added a nice bit of tasty crunch. I would definitely use low-sodium broth, as I found it a touch salty even with that. For color, I tossed some chopped chives onto each bowl before serving.

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