My mom turned 62 last week, and I helped cook and clean for her ‘I’m getting Social Security!’ party. Yes, she had one. Clearly the craziness runs in the family. But anyway, she decided to go with a fall food theme, and called it her Soup-ty Second Birthday Party. Cute. Ominous. It meant, of course, that soups were on the menu. I was told on the morning of party day that I was the cook.
I don’t have anything against cooking. In fact, if you peruse my blog history, you will find many examples of (fabulous) cooking adventures. What I object to is cooking en masse. In this case, I was supposed to quadruple two separate soup recipes – one a family favorite called Chalupa, and the other something called Dutch Cheese and Potato Soup. I started the chalupa just fine, but by the time it came to peeling potatoes, I was feeling rather aggressive. Those potato skins felt it, let me tell you!
At least until I decided to take out a chunk of my thumb with the potato peeler, that is. Yep. It can happen to even the best of us, and I wasn’t doing a very good job and watching what I was doing anyway. Pain. Blood! What to do, what to do?! I was bleeding on the potato skins and swearing to myself (quietly, as swearing is strictly verboten in my parent’s house). I yelled to Peter to get a bandage and retired to the sink to wash out the cut and apply pressure.“PEEEEEETER!!!”
He couldn’t find any band-aids. Honest to goodness. I grabbed a paper towel, wadded it up as best I could, and went in search myself. Aha! They were hiding…in a white plastic box labeled, appropriately enough, Band-Aids. Huh. I uttered more not nice words under my breath and then proceeded to smother the offending thumb in bandages. I was ready to go back to battle! Err…the kitchen!
Dutch Cheese and Potato Soup
5 to 6 russet potatoes
5 tablespoons butter
2 large yellow onions
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dill seeds, crushed in a mortar (I used dill leaves, as we had no seeds)
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
6 ounces Gouda cheese, grated
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
fresh-ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Boil them in just enough lightly salted water to cover until they are tender. Do not discard the cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, deep skillet or pot. Cut the onions in half crosswise and slice them thinly. Sauté the sliced onions in the melted butter along with the bay leaves, stirring often, until the onions just start to turn golden. Add the crushed dill seeds and stir a minute more, then add the cooked potatoes along with their water.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet, stir in 2 tablespoons flour, and cook a minute or two over low heat. In a separate saucepan heat the milk, and then stir it into the roux. Stir constantly with a whisk until the sauce has thickened and is completely smooth. Add it to the soup.
Bit by bit, add the grated cheese, stirring slowly all the while. Then add the paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep the soup barely simmering on a low flame, stirring often, for about 15 minutes more. Serve hot.