Anne's selection this week is a quite flexible potato soup. You can change the basic recipe by adding ham, bacon, corn, different seasonings, and a variety of toppings, just like a baked potato. Frozen hash browns and country gravy mix make the process quite simple. I added a few toppings of green onion, cheddar and bacon bits.
Olive oil (to cover bottom of pot)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups chicken broth
1 30 oz. package shredded potatoes (don't get flavored, or cubed; just plain shredded potato)
1 package country gravy mix (I use non-fat)
Salt & pepper to taste
Saute onion, pepper, celery and garlic in olive oil over low-medium heat until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add about 1/2 cup of broth and stir; make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom. Turn up heat until soup is bubbly. Add rest of broth, then add frozen potatoes.
Make sure you have enough broth. You should be able to stir, and the soup should be somewhat thin at this point. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are soft, you are ready to thicken the soup.
Take 1 cup of hot water, and stir in the gravy mix. Make sure you don't have any lumps, and stir into the soup. Soup should be bubbly, but not boiling before you add the gravy. Make sure you mix the gravy into the soup well. Turn down to a simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Soup should be very thick now.
Add salt and pepper to taste.The gravy mix has a lot of seasoning in it, so make sure you don't season till after that is in. I also add about 2 tsp. of dried basil. Sometimes I add more garlic powder...just up to the cook!
This is your basic soup. Makes about 10 cups. Without any other additions, it is 1 point per cup, for you WW members out there.
You can top it with shredded cheese, bacon bits and chives, or just have it plain.
Variations: Add a can of creamed corn for corn/potato chowder. Add chopped ham for ham/potato soup. Leave out the garlic if you don't like it. Add more if you do! This is a very flexible recipe...I can't wait to see what all of you do with it.