You know that old ad that says you don't have to be Jewish to eat Levy's rye bread? I feel the same way about Irish food. I'm not Irish, but love Irish food. Especially Irish Soda Bread and Irish Oat Scones.
Ed and I visited Ireland several years ago and despite warnings to the contrary we found the food there was scrumptious. We had salmon almost every night, and I remember fondly one dish of broiled salmon with a horseradish crust. So simple, fresh and fabulous for dinner.
And of course, we had lots of those famous Irish potatoes. Mashed with kale or cabbage. And just plain boiled.
Oh, I do love those earthy, mineral-y potatoes.
Every year on St. Patrick's Day I make one or more of these recipes, and sometimes Irish potato soup. Classic Irish potato soup usually starts with bacon, but for a vegetarian version of that smoky, bacony flavor, roast some shiitake mushrooms (see below) and add them as a final garnish. But the soup is also wonderful if you skip that step and garnish with some fresh, chopped chives.
Creamy Irish Potato Soup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 leeks, washed and sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, optional
- 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, optional
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, optional
Heat the vegetable oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes, stir for a minute. Pour in the vegetable stock. Add salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cook, partially covered, for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Puree the ingredients in a blender or food processor or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pan. Add the cream and heat through. If desired, serve with a garnish of chopped chives or chopped, roasted shiitake mushrooms.
To make the roasted mushrooms: while the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse and dry the mushrooms and coat them with the 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes or until well browned. Chop and sprinkle over the soup.
Makes 6 servings