Friday, July 08, 2005

Yummy Almost Instant Potato Soup

Yummy Almost Instant Potato Soup Posted by Picasa

Hi, I am Alyce's sister, Cindy, and I have one important lesson for you today: While attempting to put up the umbrella on your patio table, it is imperative that you NOT use the edge of the table to get a little leg-up. You might go crashing to the ground, winding up with knee surgery and orders to stay off it for weeks. Does this sound like something that might have happened to Alyce? You betcha!

So, I've come from Knoxville to help her through the first week. Thanks to her friends, all of whom, it appears, are excellent cooks, the fridge is packed with goodies. I think everything is wonderful. Unfortunately, due to all the medications, everything tastes like sawdust to Alyce. Orange sawdust, rib sawdust, tomato sawdust--you get the picture.

But I managed to come up with something that cheered her up considerably: cooking. Actually I did the cooking, and she did the bossing around. Now that I think about it, that might be the part that cheered her up the most.

You would think, wouldn't you, that a person in the food business would have a better stocked larder. Not so. But we dug around and found the ingredients for a very quick and tasty soup. We had the leftovers from an excellent roast chicken. There was a box of au gratin potato mix. With a few additions, and very little time or effort, we came up with what Alyce considered really good sawdust! Crusty bread and a salad would make a great Saturday lunch.

I'm not the cook in the family, but even I could make this at home for my friends. Bon appétit!


1 Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 box potato au gratin mix
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Several sprigs fresh thyme, or a pinch of dried
2 cups (or whatever you have) of shredded cooked chicken
1 cup milk or half-and-half

In a large soup pot over medium-low heat sauté the onion in the butter until very tender and just starting to brown. Add the stock, thyme, and the contents of all sauce and seasoning packets and bring to a simmer. Stir in the potatoes, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender, stirring occasionally. If you used fresh thyme, fish out the stems if you can find them. Stir in the milk and chicken. You may need to add a little more stock for your preferred consistency. Bring back to a simmer and serve. Garnish with more fresh thyme. Bacon crumbles and sliced green onion would make a marvelous garnish, too. Serves 6 as a main course soup.

Note from Alyce: We used ¨loaded potato¨ flavor potatoes, but most any cheesy variety should work as well. We used half-and-half. It was very rich, and I would use milk the next time. And my sister can too cook, she just says that.

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