Potato Soup: Explained in Detail

I’ve been asked to write up an extended explanation of the Potato Soup that I learned how to make and now have fallen in love with. I made it for Jen’s mom last night and took many pictures to accomplish this task. For anyone new reading this, I was taught this recipe from a gal named Glory. She is an interpreter at the Living Museum in Nevada City, Montana. This recipe is reportedly over 150 years old and used quite frequently in those days. Especially when no real meat was to be had.

So, here goes…


Chop one garlic nice and small. Follow that with half of an onion and one-half pound of bacon cooked up and broken into small pieces.


Toss it all into a pot with one stick of butter (1/2 cup). I use a cast iron pot. It cooks very well and the residual heat when you turn off the burner keeps the soup hot for quite some time.



Since measuring devices weren’t all that common 150 years ago (at least among the little people), use your hand and put enough salt and pepper to fill the small cup of your hand and toss it into the pot. I used a little more than needed in this picture because I was making a “double recipe.”


Turn on the burner to medium-high heat and let it cook up nice and yummy. Taking a spoonful to eat when it is done and before adding the potatoes and water is a favorite activity in my home.


It takes about 5 minutes to cook it up when medium-high heat is used. Stir this all up while it is cooking to mix all the flavors together!


When it is nearly ready for the potatoes, toss in a bigger handful of chives into the mix. Stir it and get ready for the potatoes. If you’re not quite done cutting the potatoes, turn the heat off to keep from burning your starter.


Rinse your potatoes and clean all the residual dirt off of them from being in the ground. I am showing you red potatoes but I caution: the soup does not taste as good with reds and it does not thicken as well with reds. The white potatoes are best. I did not have any in the house when I made the soup yesterday.


Chop the potatoes. Do not worry about uniform size. I always have a few small pieces and a few larger ones. The number of potatoes cut up is determined by what you have available and/prefer. Typically, I cut up about 3 or 4 large potatoes per pot of soup. If you’d wish more potatoes in your soup, then toss in some more. Start with two and go from there. You can always add more potatoes before adding the water to make sure you have as many as you want.


It really is dependent on what you prefer and what happens when you are wielding your knife. Looking at the pictures of my hands, I have to say, they really do look like my dad’s hands! The older I get the more I see my father’s hands in my own. I’m not sure if I should be dismayed or proud to have his hands. Of course, my entire body is near identical to my father. Expect the girl parts, of course.


When your base is finished and the potatoes are all chopped up, put them into the pot.


Before adding any water, make sure you have your desired amount of potatoes. Also, stir it up with the base of the soup to coat the potatoes a bit before pouring on the water. I’m not sure this part makes a difference. I just like to do it.


Add enough water to cover the potatoes and not a drop more. You don’t want a soup that is too runny.


That looks good but now we have to cook it. We’re going to turn our heat to high at this point.


The decision to lid or not lid is yours and yours alone. My cast iron pot came with this lid. The bumps assist in keeping the moisture in the pot. Some days I lid, some days I choose not to lid.


Occasionally stirring, watch for the intense boiling of the soup. When you get to this step, go ahead and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let it simmer for a good hour before deciding it might be done. Don’t forget to stir it now and again!


Keep an eye on the potatoes. As they heat up, they’ll release their starch into the water and start thickening up the soup. As I said, the reds don’t do as well as the whites, so my soup doesn’t look like it is thickening up. However, these potatoes are done. To test, try and use your spoon to squish a potato against the sides of the pot. If it squishes nicely, it’s nearly done. Let it slowly simmer for another little bit and then serve. It took just about an hour to get my soup to perfection last night.


Soup’s done! Let’s eat! Yours will look differently if you use white potatoes. Remember that part. You could serve this with crackers or rolls but we never have. As a diabetic, I get enough of the starch via the potatoes and don’t add to it with more. In my home, we eat this as is, with no other compliments.

I hope this all made sense. Enjoy a simple soup sometime soon!

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Categories: Basics of Cooking, Cooking School, Dinner, Family, Photography | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Potato Soup: Explained in Detail

  1. Thank you!

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