I am not sure if many people love soup the way that I do, but there must be a few out there just like me.
I have noticed, much to my pleasure, that there are more and more soup-only restaurants cropping up around Indiana.
I love this for many reasons, one of which is that they are affordable. But more than that, we can hit up one of these spots for lunch, and everyone can find something that they like.
Many times the featured bowls use ingredient combinations that I may have not tried in a soup before. Most recently I had a carrot, ginger and raisin soup in a sweet whole-wheat bread bowl, and it was incredible.
One of my favorite places is not too far away, in downtown Indianapolis’ City Market, the aptly named Circle City Soups. Every day they have something new simmering into their rotation, and I have not had one yet that I didn’t like.
If you ever want a unique dining experience then head to the City Market. There is a little something for everyone, far outside the norm of pizzas and burgers. Crepes, authentic Louisiana po-boys and barbecue are just a few of the dining choices there.
But as the leaves change color and drop, my mood shifts to all things comfort. Easy, warm food, early bedtimes and flannel pajamas. I am not in the house five minutes and I already have them on.
Potato Blue Cheese Soup
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced
4-5 pounds of small white or red potatoes, cut up and skin left on
4 cups of water or stock. I have made this twice and used both. Best is a combo of both.
8 ounces of blue cheese, Gorgonzola or Roquefort. I have used blue and Gorgonzola. Both came out different but equally great.
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Chopped rosemary for garnish, optional
In a large pot (or saute pan if it is going into the slow cooker) saute the onion for five minutes in the butter. Add a pinch of salt to sweat them a little. Add the celery and saute until soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic and at this point either add this to a slow cooker or keep going in the soup pot.
Add the potatoes and water.
If using the slow cooker, cook four hours on low or until the potatoes are tender. I like to give them a mash at the end to thicken the soup. Add the cheese and allow to heat for another hour or so. It is ready to go after that. Salt and pepper to taste.
I opted to use my cast enamel soup pot for this. After adding the potatoes and water I let simmer until soft. Your time will really depend on your heat and whether you are in a hurry. Once soft, I gave the potatoes a light mash and stirred in the blue cheese. I added fresh pepper, to taste and just a bit of salt.
The taste of the sauteed onion, celery and garlic really boosted the flavor of this light soup.
Regrettably, they have become a staple in my winter wardrobe. Just ask my oldest son. I thought he was going to fall over when I took him to an early-morning cross-country meet last month in my favorite Nick and Nora pair.
I didn’t mind. The other moms just nodded their heads in acknowledgment, as they too donned their own early-morning comfort wear.
But soup, a great soup, brings you all of the comforts of a warm and hearty meal just in a smaller package. I hate to load mine up with heavy creams and starches, so I have updated one of my favorites, potato soup. This one has a savory twist with the addition of my favorite cheese, blue.
You can make this one in a soup pot on the stove or in your slow cooker. I have included the instructions for both. Serve this with a light salad and a hunk of fresh, warm bread, and you are ready for dinner.
Like a soft fleece blanket, a good soup can warm your heart and soul. Best of all, you didn’t get it out of a can, but it was about as easy.
Heather Tallman lives in the Center Grove area and writes the cooking blog Basilmomma. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.