Ah, fall in Tucson. The leaves are … the same. We continue to crank up the A/C when we get in the car. But, darn it, the weather is a little bit cooler, so let’s pretend it’s chilly and stir up something warm and hearty.
One of my favorite foods any time of year is a potato soup my husband makes. It was his mom’s recipe and it has a few twists:
The liquid: This recipe calls for canned evaporated milk — not to be confused with the sweetened condensed kind — along with regular milk. Evaporated milk lends this soup a silkiness and flavor that can’t be replicated (we’ve tried).
You can find evaporated milk in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
Seasoning: Have you ever tried sprinkling celery seed on potato salad? It’s terrific, and it’s even better cooked in potato soup. This recipe doesn’t work without this hearty little seed.
The main ingredient: I can see foodies everywhere cringing, but this recipe works best with frozen “hash brown”-style potatoes. Turns out those uniform little squares have just the right consistency — they don’t fall apart; they’re neither too hard nor too soft.
I’ve tried using fresh potatoes in this dish, and it just doesn’t work — they get mushy. Plus, it’s about three times as difficult to make.
This soup is so deceptively plain you might be tempted to tweak it. Resist! I once added carrots and the flavor overwhelmed the potatoes. Same thing with cheese — it’s just too much. A grind of pepper and a sprinkle of salt and this concoction is perfection.
This soup takes about 50 minutes’ cooking time. Be sure to stick around and stir it every five minutes or so. It doesn’t make a huge amount so you might consider doubling the recipe — leftovers are terrific reheated on the stove or in the microwave.