Potatruary: Potato Soup with Fried Almonds

14 Feb

I’m sorry, Potatruary just doesn’t have the same ring a FebruANY. Subway Marketing: 1. Erica “Marketing”: 0.

Are you ready to hear a lot about potatoes, how starchy they are when you cut them, how frustrating it is to scrub them, and how many more recipes that are awesome and inciting that are using SWEET potatoes, but that’s not the type of potato sack you need to get rid of! Well prepare yourself, because that is what is going to happen over the next few posts…or not, we’ll see how deep into the potato void I am prepared to go…

Well, after a quick search of “potato soup” on trusty old Food52, I came across something that was new, something that was exciting, something that had “fried almonds” in the title. Sold.

{ Food52 – Anya Von Bremzan’s Potato Soup with Fried Almonds }

PotatoSoupAlmonds

Oh yeah, showing my cards early this time.

To begin, we want to get those beautiful fried almonds ready, and what’s even better…you fry them up with garlic! Sweet mamma jamma, what a great way to start ANY dish. Heat 1/4 C of olive oil in your pot, and add these suckers until they look like this (once removed from the pan, obvs)

GarlicAlmondsAnd if you think it smells amazing, it does. It smells amazing. If it were socially acceptable to smell like garlic (fried, baked, or even raw) you better believe I’d be sitting on a $billion non-vampire fragrance empire. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but if I’m preparing something to go into the oven/simmer before I head out for a run, if it involves cutting up garlic, I won’t wash my hands because I like to continually smell it as I run. Think Mary Katherine Gallagher but with garlic instead of armpits (and running instead of weird falling).

Meanwhile, cut up those bastard potatoes.

PotatoesAnd since you’re still cutting them up (because they always take longer than you think), go ahead and sauté some delicious diced Serrano ham (in salami form) in that garlicky/almondy oil you were just using.

Salami

Now add those labor-of-love potato chunks, give it a quick stir, and send in some chicken stock. I happen to have some HOMEMADE chicken stock in the freezer, however this was a batch that skewed toward the gelatinous consistency, even after fat skimmings. How will the affect the soup? This and more will be answered….in a few paragraphs.

Boil the oil, chicken stock, potatoes, and Jamón (oh, that’s how they say/spell it in Spain) until the potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, take a few tablespoons of the stock out of the pan and let a few threads of saffron sit in there until they start to become one with the liquid.

Saffron

This is Saffron I got at a market in Spain last year. I’m 88% sure it’s not real since it was a little too cheap, and it has kind of a strange flavor to it. But hey, it makes me feel fancy to use, so let’s just continue to swirl our brandy glasses and spin my bar-globe by the fire. 

Now put those almonds and garlic from before (remember those?) into a food processor with some salt and pepper and grind up to a nice paste-looking consistency. Add to the soup to create a wonderful and creamy texture. Now add a few glugs of Sherry vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar since that’s what you have in your pantry) and give it s a stir. Fin

SoupHorizontalBoarder

So…I was crazy excited to try this soup. However, the flavor was quite…unique. NOT bad, but just, unique. I believe the white balsamic I put in may have something to do with it? Also, the homemade chicken stock (remember, from before!) combined with the oil and the ham gave a pretty oily and slick texture to the broth. Again, it WASN’T bad, but just not pleasant. Also, when reheating leftovers, the whole soup had that same jiggly gelatinous consistency which is just not very appetizing. But, it did make for about 6 servings between John, me, and a few days!

{ Food52 – Anya Von Bremzan’s Potato Soup with Fried Almonds }

  • cup whole blanched almonds
  • 6large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3cup (about 2 ounces) finely diced serrano ham or prosciutto
  • 4cups chicken broth, or more if needed
  • 1pinch saffron, crushed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2teaspoons sherry vinegar, preferably aged, or more to taste
  • 2tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Dense country bread, for serving
  1. Cut the potatoes into irregular chunks by inserting the tip of a small, sharp knife into a potato and twisting until a 1 1/2 chunk comes out. Repeat until the entire potato is cut up, then continue with the remaining potatoes; set aside. Alternately, roughly chop in 1 1/2 inch chunks. Peeling is optional.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the almonds and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so the oil doesn’t burn. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the almonds and garlic to a bowl to cool slightly. Add the ham to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup.
  3. Meanwhile, place the almond and garlic mixture in a food processor and grind it. If you like almond bits in your soup, grind the mixture somewhat coarsely; otherwise, grind it fine. Add all but about 2 tablespoons to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Steep the saffron in a few tablespoons of the soup broth for 2 minutes, then add it to the soup. Simmer the soup, partially covered, until about half the potatoes have disintegrated, about 35 minutes. Skim the soup as it cooks if you like, and add a little more stock if the soup seems too thick.
  5. When ready to serve, check the texture of the soup. If you’d like it creamier, break up some of the potatoes with a sturdy spoon. Add the vinegar to the reserved ground almond mixture and stir it into the soup. Add the parsley and cook for a minute. Taste for seasoning, adding a little more vinegar if necessary. Serve the soup with bread.
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One Response to “Potatruary: Potato Soup with Fried Almonds”

  1. Mary L Light February 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    A perfect valentine’s day treat. And it sounds like a Spanish dish – garlic/ serrano ham/ almonds/ safron?????

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