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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Leftover Mashed Potatoes = Potato Soup


Putting away all the leftovers from a Thanksgiving feast can be one of the biggest challenges of the day, and it sometimes is tempting to just toss foods that you aren't sure would work well a second time around.

Mashed potatoes may fall into that category for some of you. After reheating them once with the leftover gravy and turkey, what else can you do?

Potato Soup. Already cooked mashed potatoes can almost seem like a convenience food if you are in the mood for soup. Just saute some onions and celery, pull out the potatoes and you have a great entree just right for a cold winter supper.

The following recipe is more a guide, since the amount of potatoes you have will affect how much of the other ingredients you'll need. One of the great things about homemade soups is the flexibility. Try this and then try your own additions and seasoning adjustments. Following the recipe are a number of suggestions for varying this soup to match your preferences, and possibly other available leftovers.

Who knows--after you try this, you might find yourself making extra mashed potatoes just to have some leftovers for soup!

Leftover Potatoes Soup

For 2 to 3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, use approximately the following amounts:
canola oil
1 medium to large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 to 4 c milk
1 to 2 chicken or vegetarian bouillon cubes, to taste
1 t dried herbs (I like a mix of basil, thyme, and rosemary, crushed together in a mortar and pestle)
black pepper to taste

1.  Saute the onion and celery in a small amount of oil, cooking on medium heat until the onion is translucent and golden.
2.  Stir in the potatoes and then gradually add the milk, stirring the mixture to break up the potatoes and to develop an even consistency throughout. (Cold mashed potatoes are almost always "chunky" but will gradually soften as they are heated.)
3.  Add the bouillon, herbs, and pepper. Taste and adjust for saltiness. Continue heating for a few minutes to meld the flavors.

Variations:

Substitute some of the leftover turkey broth for the milk and bouillon. (You could stir in some nonfat dried milk powder if you want the added bump of protein the milk can provide.) Other reserved (or purchased) stocks can also be used.

Stir in some frozen broccoli florets near the end of cooking for cream of broccoli soup. Other vegetables can also be added in as well. If you have just a little of the classic green bean casserole leftover, stir them in for a wonderful mushroom/green bean/potato soup.

Stir in grated cheese (or cubes of processed cheese like Velveeta) just before serving, long enough to just melt the cheese. Bacon bits (real or veggie style) can be used for a topping with this.

If you had ham as your entree, those odd bits of ham cut off the bone are a great addition to this soup.



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