Thursday, 11 June 2015

Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds.

Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds by Salt Sugar and I

Since it started to get chilly here I have been completely obsessed with soup. Yes soup.

Growing up there was a few soups we got the choice of; pumpkin soup with a swirl of cream on top, chunky beef with vegetable and lentils that always tasted better the next day and parsnip soup which was only ever made when Mum was hosting a dinner party and she made extra for my dinner as well.

Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds by Salt Sugar and I

The first soup I made was Nigella Lawson’s Minestrone soup from ‘How to Eat’ and it was about 7 years ago. I remember this soup being a huge deal. I searched for a perfect minestrone recipe for days and when I found Nigella's I had to have the exact amount of everything and chopped exactly as it was written in the book. I even insisted on making homemade bread from 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' to go with it which turned out like a large rock that just crumbled. My intentions were good and all I wanted to do was serve a homey meal and use the huge stock pot in the back of the cupboard but we ended up eating dinner at 10 o’clock at night and I’m pretty sure I yelled at one or two family members who attempted to enter the kitchen to see how dinner was coming along.

Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds by Salt Sugar and I

Had I cut the vegetables in the right sizes? What if mine were bigger than Nigella’s? What if they wouldn’t cook perfcetly? or what if they were smaller and they turned to mush? These were my worries when I made my first soup.

I’m feeling like a soup-pro these days and my soup making skills have come a long way since I was 19 and cooking in my mother kitchen. The chicken soup a made a few weeks ago was a revelation. I was amazed that I could create a chicken soup in less than an hour and that is had all the flavour locked in it still. The vegetable soup with a dollop of pesto on top is always a winner in our apartment but now I wanted to try Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds from Food 52's Genius Recipes. And by golly it's a winner!

I’ve been wanting to make something out of this cookbook for a couple of weeks now but haven’t gotten around to it until recently.

Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds by Salt Sugar and I

I made it for a couple of girlfriends who came over for dinner and I’ll be honest I was hesitant to make it...I mean potato soup isn’t the most appealing sounding dinner is it? But I trusted the reviews of the recipe and the fact that it was in a cookbook call ‘Genius Recipes’ and let me tell you it didn’t disappoint. I loved it! It was easy to make, ready within the hour and really freakin’ delicious.

You can easily double the recipe to feed more people like I did, (I made one and a half recipes) as I have nightmares of having people over for dinner and them leaving hungry…

I’m not really sure how else to explain this soup but Luisa from the blog ‘The Wednesday Chef’ (one of my favourite blogs) made this soup a few years ago and called the soup 'sexy'. I guess it kind of is but I don’t have a way with words like she does and can’t quite explain why. Just make it!

Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds by Salt Sugar and I

Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds

(Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 for dinner)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
6 large garlic cloves
55g finely diced prosciutto 
680g Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cut into irregular 1 1/2-inch chunks (I used ordinary 'washed' potatoes)
4 cups chicken stock
1 pinch saffron, crushed (I forgot to crush it...)
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (I used verjuice as I didn't have any sherry vinegar)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Crusty bread & Salty butter, for serving

- Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the almonds and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so the oil doesn't burn. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the almonds and garlic to a bowl to cool slightly. 

- Add the prosciutto to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup.

- Meanwhile, place the almond and garlic mixture in a food processor and grind it. Add all but about 2 tablespoons to the soup. 

- Steep the saffron in a few tablespoons of the soup broth for 2 minutes, then add it to the soup. Simmer the soup, partially covered, until about half the potatoes have disintegrated, about 35 minutes. Continue to skim the soup as it cooks, and add a little more stock if the soup seems too thick.

- When ready to serve, break up some of the potatoes using a fork. Add the vinegar (verjuice) to the reserved ground almond mixture and stir it into the soup. Add the parsley and cook for a minute. Season with salt and pepper and taste, adding a little more vinegar (verjuice) according to taste. 

- Serve with bread smothered in salty butter.

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