When I thought I was done making soup for cold winter days because it already felt like Spring here in Wisconsin in the middle of February; then came a big snow storm just couple of days ago. Only in Wisconsin where you have such a Spring-like weather in 4 days and a snow storm on the 5th day.
But anyway, I was craving for hot soup so I decided to make an easy and light creamy potato basil soup without using any heavy cream or cream soup in cans. Instead, I made roux which is a paste-like texture of flour and butter mixture cooked on low heat. Roux is used to thicken sauces and soups. When you add milk into the roux paste, you create béchamel or white sauce, which is the base of most cream soups.
If you’re conscious of your calorie intake, thickening your sauces and soups using roux and milk (or bechamel) is a better route instead of going for low-fat low-sodium cream soup in cans. No matter how the manufacturers claimed these canned soups to be as healthy as it could be, the truth of the matter is, it’s still highly-processed with lots of additives or preservatives.
Home-made soups are still the healthiest; especially if you’re using 2%, skim, almond or soy milk. Now, if you want gluten-free soup base, you may just want to use coconut milk less the roux, since it’s already thick and creamy. It depends of course on what kind of soup you’re making.
In this recipe, I used freshly chopped (then frozen) basil for a vibrant and fresher taste. Dried spices are stronger and more intense so I would use it more sparingly. I know it may not be easy to find frozen basil; but if you have an indoor herb garden like I do, you may want to freeze some of the extra leaves so you don’t waste any precious flavor.
CREAMY POTATO BASIL SOUP
Yield: 6-8 Cups
* Butter – 8 tbsp. (1/2 cup)
* Flour – ½ cup
* Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
* Onion – 1 cup (small, diced)
* Celery – 1 cup (4-5 stalks, washed, diced)
* Carrots – 1 cup (2 pcs, washed, diced)
* Olive oil – 3 tbsp
* Potatoes – 4 med-large pcs, diced
* Fresh/frozen basil – 1 cup, chopped
* Dried spices:
(celery salt-1 tsp, dried mustard-1tsp, rosemary-1 tsp, nutmeg-1/2 tsp, parsley-1 tbs)
* Seasoning: salt and pepper (to taste)
* Parmesan cheese – ¼ cup
* Milk – 2 quarts
1. Cut butter into smaller portions and let it melt in the pan on medium heat.
2. Slowly add flour while stirring constantly until all lumps are gone.
3. Add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce is smooth. Set aside.
4. Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add onions, celery and carrots. Let the vegetables caramelize.
5. Add the milk mixture into the vegetable and stir well.
6. Add the potatoes and all the spices. Let it simmer (low heat) til potatoes are cooked.
7. Add the parmesan cheese.
8. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the taste.
9. Add in fresh chopped basil and stir well. Then turn off the heat.
10. Serve hot with home-made croutons or biscuits.
Thank you for reading and happy cooking!