December 10, 2012

Potato Soup with Smothered Onions

Potato Soup with Smothered Onions
Last week I caught that cold virus that has been ploughing through the city.  But being sick is not so bad when you get to watch hours of Downton Abbey, eat mountains of tubetti in chicken broth and get tons of extra sleep each night.  I didn’t think I’d find the energy to cook for Brooklyn Salt this past weekend but was inspired by a heavenly potato, leek and cheddar soup garnished with bits of crispy bacon and fried sage that my dude and I shared a few weeks ago at one of our favorite restaurants.  Marcella Hazan’s recipe for Potato Soup with Smothered Onions looked simple enough and cutting a pound and a half of onions is great for the sinuses.

Growing up, my favorite soup was my mom’s potato leek soup.   She didn’t make it very often so it was a treat when she did.  In college, a friend of mine decided to make it for me as a surprise.  She misread the amount of black pepper in the recipe and ended up adding an ungodly amount of it to the pot.  One taste of the soup was like a shot of pepper spray to the back of the throat.  Since we couldn’t eat it, she fed it to her dog who happily lapped it up but was then faced with the challenge of keeping it down.

Don’t worry, this is a different recipe, one that doesn't even call for pepper.  I know the weather outside is not as frightful as it should be in December but as soon as it dips below 50 degrees, this creamy, filling dish will be a great remedy for the cold, or A cold in my case.  I’m still coughing, drinking tea and wearing a scarf indoors, but I’m sure I’ll be cured in time to finish all my Christmas shopping this weekend.  Oh the horror of Soho on a weekend in December!


Makes 6 servings

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (about 3 medium), sliced very thin
Coarse salt
1/2 cup beef broth
3 cups water
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

1.  Peel the potatoes, cut them into 1/2-inch cubes, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

2.  Put the butter, oil, onions, and a healthy pinch of coarse salt into a large soup pot, and turn the heat to medium.  Do not cover the pot.  Cook the onions at a slow pace, stirring occasionally, until they have wilted and become pale brown in color.

3.  Add the diced potatoes, turn up the heat to high, and saute the potatoes briskly coating them well with the onions. 

4.  Add the broth and water, cover the pot and adjust the heat back to medium so that the soup comes to a slow, steady boil.  When the potatoes are very tender, pulp most of them by mashing them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.  Stir thoroughly and cook for another 10 minutes.  If the soup seems too thick, add extra water.  Add more salt to taste. 

5.  If you want a smooth consistency, puree the soup with an immersion blender, food processor or blender until creamy.  Before turning off the heat and serving soup, stir in the cheese and the parsley.  Serve soup in bowls garnished with extra chopped parsley.

Potato Soup with Smothered Onions


  1. I love the words "smothered onions". Is there a more delicious sounding pairing? I'm not sure that there is. I bet my husband would just tilt this bowl back and drink this soup; it looks hearty and satisfying! With all the running around we New Yorkers do this time of year, we deserve this soup!

  2. I love the looks of your soup with that fresh sage on top! Yes indeed, potato soup is incredibly satisfying and super filling too. I'm overloaded on potato this week so I'll have to stash the leftovers in the freezer.