When I have a cold I go through a few ‘food’ stages. In the first few days I need comfort: soothing soups and lots of toast. Then, when I start to feel the tug of recovery and want to kick-start my system I switch to an obsession with spice and heat, anything that will blast my sinuses or refresh me. This soup, as you may have guessed, falls into the comfort category. I don’t think I have ever made potato soup before and I can’t imagine why not since it is easy, thrifty and gorgeous. And as it is, of course, made with the contents of my store cupboard this is pretty much January’s best friend: culinary paracetamol and an economy drive rolled into one.
For two portions
Cupboard (or things you may have):
1 garlic clove
a knob of butter or splash of olive oil
3 rashers streaky bacon
250g potatoes (about 2 medium)
500ml vegetable stock (I used a cube)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a spoonful or two of cream/crème fraîche, to finish (optional)
a few fresh sage leaves, to finish (optional)
1. Peel, top and tail the onion and garlic, chop them both finely then soften them in the butter or oil in a lidded saucepan.
2. Snip up one of the bacon rashers and add it to the onion and garlic. Cook until no longer raw but don’t overdo it and make it crispy.
3. Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes into small pieces (the smaller the pieces, the quicker the process) then add them to the pan. Stir to coat them in the buttery juices then turn the heat down and cook, covered, for about 5-10 minutes until almost done.
4. Make up the stock if necessary, add to the pan then bring everything to the boil. Lower the heat again to a simmer and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are collapsing.
5. Whilst the potatoes are cooking snip up the rest of the bacon and fry off gently in a small frying pan. Once it’s done, remove it to one side then add the sage leaves to the bacon fat and let them crisp up in it.
6. Finally, blend the soup until smooth, season to taste and add some cream/crème fraîche if you want. Reheat gently then serve with the crispy bacon and sage sprinkled on top.