Snowdrops … and Baked Potato Soup

We have a flower bed beside our patio. Only three types of flowers grow there throughout the year. From April to October, the bed is filled with impatiens. They are the “standard issue” impatiens and the colors vary by what’s available each year. We plant impatiens not because they are our absolutely favorite flower, but because of their easygoing nature. Our house is in the woods and we need flowers that are tolerant of both full shade and low maintenance. ;-) Impatiens fit the bill, and by the end of the growing season their showy display is impressive.

However, during the late fall and winter months, this particular flower bed looks pretty sad and lonely. The fact that this bed is right beside my immediate “at the ready” firewood supply for the wood stove does not help at all … as the errant log and large sheaths of bark often find their way into the bed. The upper floor of our house is T-shaped and the patio is actually the space under the base of that T. It’s also right outside our den where our woodstove is located. (I designed our house with the openness we wanted and the ease of heating with wood foremost in my mind.) My husband keeps me well supplied with wood, which often means the wood is stacked a good 3- or 4- feet high between the columns that frame the patio. For months, I don’t usually even see the flower bed unless I go wandering in that part of our yard and woods, perhaps checking out something that the cats are up to. Right before Valentine’s Day, I walked into our woods down the hill from the patio to empty our chinchilla’s cage of its shredded pine bedding. Admittedly, it’s a task I often relegate to my husband when he’s out in the yard refilling the birdfeeders, but this time I was working on my “to do” list for the party and the timing was off to make it one of his collateral duties. Coming back up the hill, I was rewarded by the lovely sight of more than a dozen snowdrops in the flower bed. I stopped and smiled and thought, yep, it’s that time again. Every single year, without fail, I am joyfully surprised by the appearance of snowdrops. :-)

Snowdrops are aptly named because they show up at the time of year when snow is in the forecast and can often be seen peeking through snow. When your are dreaming of seeds and bedding plants in a few months and your only expectations of fresh flowers are from the florist, suddenly, there they are for you. Today’s forecast is for several inches of snow. So, this morning out of curiosity, I purposely stepped around our firewood “fortress” to see how many snowdrops remained. I saw three and they looked as pretty as ever, no worse for wear from rain and sleet the last 24 hours. One was actually outside the confines of the flower bed—on its way down the hill—but still standing proud and pretty. (Its location was a nicer reminder than the stack of landscape timbers off to the side of the patio that we need to re-do the flower bed, since the timbers have fallen away due to gravity and time.) The funny thing about snowdrops is they look so delicate and fragile to me, much like lilies of the valley in their fragility and whiteness fringed with green. I wonder how they can survive the cold and snow and remain so intact and beautiful.  Yet they do, year after year. Best of all, they are another sign that spring is coming. When my prolific blue star flowers (sometimes called Star of David flowers), the third type of flower that graces this bed, follow in a few weeks, I will know for certain winter is behind us.

snowdrop-dawnzy582

Photo by dawnzy58

However, today winter remains and with the snow soon to make its appearance here, a suitable dinner is needed. You guys already know I’ m a soup kind of girl! Well, the opposite of delicate, but still as suited to a snow day as the snowdrop, is a hearty, flavorful soup. What kind of soup recipe do I turn to when I am otherwise occupied (e.g., doing taxes today) and don’t plan to be in the kitchen enjoying the soup “process,” like I do with my Everything Soup? Well, I have a couple of quick soup recipes I rely on … like this Hearty Baked Potato Soup recipe. It was shared on J.D. Roth’s personal finance blog, Get Rich Slowly. (I am nothing, if not a girl of many interests.) His wife, Kris, is the mastermind behind this very simple and easy, yet wonderfully tasty soup. It’s pretty frugal (always important, but especially appreciated these days) and it’s made from ingredients that almost everyone has on hand. That latter fact makes any recipe a winner for me, but especially on a snowy day. (The snow just started coming down!) After all, you don’t want to go to the grocery store and face the “snow is coming and, oh, no, I might run of of TP, milk, bread, or junk food” crowds, do you? I didn’t think soooo! (Of course, that might only be in Virginia where that particular phenomenon occurs. Do tell.) Finally, this recipe is naturally gluten free, so it’s GFE! Love that, and love this soup!

Do you have a food or recipe that you call on when snow is imminent or already falling? One that warms your body and your soul perhaps. Tell us about it. Perhaps you have your own “must have” ptoato soup recipe … we’d like to hear about that, too!

Baked Potato Soup
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)

Ingredients

– 3 large russet potatoes, cleaned (but not peeled), skins pierced 3-4 times with a fork (you can use about 6 smaller potatoes, and I’ve used white potatoes before also; with a large crowd you can use a large stockpot and double the recipe)
– 1/4 cup butter (dairy or non-dairy)
– 1 small yellow onion, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup GF flour
– 2 cups GF chicken broth (or one 14-ounce can, I often make my broth from Better than Bouillon chicken base; or vegetable broth for vegetarian/vegan)
– 12 ounces evaporated milk (or dairy-free milk; almond milk is my favorite in this recipe)
– 2 tsp seasoned salt
– Optional toppings: shredded cheese (dairy or non-dairy), diced ham or crumbled bacon, chives or scallions, Tabasco sauce, GF croutons

Instructions

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Pot of Baked Potato Soup

Microwave the potatoes 8-9 minutes until baked through. Set aside to cool slightly. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and add onion. Cook 6-7 minutes until softened. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add flour and stir several minutes to make a thickened roux. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and broth. Scoop the pulp from one potato, mash it slightly and add to soup. Cook soup on medium to bring to a boil. Add seasoning salt (to taste). Dice the remaining two potatoes and empty skin of the third potato. Add to soup and heat through.

Serve alone, with GFE popovers or my cornbread, or your other favorite bread or cracker.

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Mug of Baked Potato Soup

Shirley’s Notes: Adapted from Kris Roth. This recipe is also great to turn to when you have a couple of potatoes in your pantry that will soon be sprouting offspring (if enough dirt gets thrown their way!). It’s very well received when shared with others, too—it looks very appealing in a canning jar.  If you’ve always shied away from potato skins in recipes, don’t this time. The skins give a nice heartiness to the soup and add more nutrients as well. As noted, this soup can be made dairy free using a dairy-free equivalent for butter/margarine and, a dairy-free milk, like almond milk or coconut milk in place of the evaporated milk. I love this recipe made with almond milk. I’ve also added additional ingredients like mushrooms (when the onions are added) and diced chicken (when the last potatoes are added) for an extra hearty and tasty version of this soup.

Shirley

Not just GF, but GFE

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.

Comments

38 Responses to “Snowdrops … and Baked Potato Soup”

  1. Nance on March 1st, 2009 3:33 pm

    Oh, I love potato soup, and I love adding some corn in to make it a nice potato-corn chowder if I have some on hand. I have to say I feel a little smug knowing that you’re getting snow for a change down there. We finally have gotten rid of ours for a while, it seems, though we’ve got very blustery winds and low, low temperatures.

  2. Shirley on March 1st, 2009 6:47 pm

    Hi, Nance–I like a potato-corn chowder myself. But, my husband and son don’t like it in their potato soup. So, if I’m home alone ;-), I make it with corn occasionally. And, if I’m eating out and can find a GF potato-corn chowder, I go for it, but that happens rarely. Corn would certainly be tasty and look pretty in this recipe.

    Glad you guys finally got a break from the snow, but the rest sounds tiresome. I think winter often wears out its welcome towards the end and I don’t even live in what’s considered a cold area. It’s still snowing here. Beautiful, cold, and very quiet. Might be a day at home tomorrow …

    Shirley

  3. noble pig on March 1st, 2009 8:56 pm

    I made soup today too…it was the rain, I couldn’t help myself!

    Nice soup. Being a potato ho, I’m all about it!

  4. Shirley on March 1st, 2009 9:36 pm

    noble pig–Cathy, obviously, I completely understand about the weather-related soup attack! Oh, yeah, I knew being a potato ho, you’d like this recipe!

    Thanks,
    Shirley

  5. Nance on March 2nd, 2009 3:48 pm

    noble pig–(sorry to chat in comments, shirley)someone once asked me if there were one food i could be stuck on a desert island with, what would i choose. i immediately chose potato. i could eat potatoes for every meal and forego meat. aren’t they wonderful, and so versatile? we had french fries last night with italian roast beef sandwiches, and i just ate the fries. heaven.

  6. Shirley on March 2nd, 2009 3:58 pm

    Hey, Nance–Just wanted to state that chatting in comments this way is perfectly acceptable with me. In fact, I encourage it! And, I hope it is with you, too, because I’ve done it on your blog from time to time. It’s hard not to respond to comments that strike a chord, plus I think it’s nice to get feedback from others as a comment sometimes. Now, if you start talking about watching an episode of Medium or just stopping by to tell everybody to stop by your blog, that’s another matter … but I know you’d never do that!! Blog etiquette—it’s a fine (but common sense and common courtesy) line, isn’t it? ;-)

    Shirley

  7. Ali (Whole Life Nutrition) on March 2nd, 2009 9:17 pm

    Shirley – What a lovely flower photo! My mom always made potato soup growing up. She made it without dairy – I think she used chicken stock. By pureeing half of the soup after it is cooked you get a nice creamy texture without the milk. I made some yeasted teff bread the other day with your honey and it turned out so yummy!!! Thanks! I am going to post it to my blog in a few days, but first, tonight, the teff pancakes need to go up!!

    I am inspired to make a big pot of potato soup tomorrow now. Thanks!!

    -Ali :)

  8. Shirley on March 3rd, 2009 7:11 am

    Hi, Ali! First, all credit goes to dawnzy58 at Flickr for the photo! (I couldn’t get a photo that did the simple, but elegant snowdrop justice because of the aforementioned firewood setting.) Thanks for letting me know that the honey worked so well in your teff bread. Our bees do good work, don’t they?! :-) I look forward to that recipe on your blog, as well as the pancake recipe. (The honey can go well on those, too. We actually like it much better than maple syrup.) Finally, thanks very much for sharing how your mom made potato soup. I am really glad you did, because I had just saved a recipe for making mashed potatoes using chicken broth, but I hadn’t transferred the concept to potato soup yet. I will definitely be trying it! Enjoy your potato soup. We’ll be having another kind of soup this evening … one I’ll blog on soon. :-)

    Shirley

  9. Polly on March 3rd, 2009 7:34 am

    I printed the soup recipe and made it immediately! It was gone faster than it took to make it. It was a perfect dinner to a follow a day of sledding and shoveling. YUM!

  10. Shirley on March 3rd, 2009 6:14 pm

    Hey, Polly! I’m so pleased that you had the ingredients on hand to quickly make this soup. I think it has such an outstanding flavor for such a simple soup. I also love the soup’s consistency and that you don’t have to keep cooking and stirring trying to get just the right thickness. BTW, I hope you got in more sledding than shoveling! It will all be gone by this weekend when the temps hit 68 on Saturday—crazy! ;-)

    Thanks so much for the terrific feedback!
    Shirley

  11. Allison on March 4th, 2009 9:49 am

    Shirley-
    Your soup looks delicious! I’ll have to give it a try since it’s been so cold lately, and I’ve been really craving soup. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    -Allison

  12. H.Peter on March 4th, 2009 10:49 am

    Since I have made teh decision to start selling soups at GF Patisserie next winter, i have started looking for tasty recipes. This one is a keeper.

    The snow drops remind me of my youth in Austria, we called those flowers Schneegloeckchen, Litte Snow bells.

  13. Shirley on March 4th, 2009 5:14 pm

    Hi Allison–Thanks very much! :-) Welcome to GFE! I love soup any time, but I think it’s especially comforting in cold weather.

    Shirley

  14. Shirley on March 4th, 2009 5:27 pm

    H.Peter–I think adding soup to your family’s GF Patisserie menu will be a huge success next winter. :-)

    Actually when I was looking for a great photo I could use, lots of photos from all parts of Europe came up in my search. Little Snow Bells is a sweet name … thank you for sharing that info! Now I just need to add a feature where I can click on your German word and have someone say it for me (as they do for some online dictionaries). Maybe I’ll do some searching later to see if I can find that. My one year of college German probably is not giving me the most accurate pronunciation. ;-)

    Shirley

  15. Kelly on March 5th, 2009 9:59 am

    Such a great story about the flowers! And I LOVE potato soup! And so does my budget! LOL

  16. Matt on March 5th, 2009 1:44 pm

    Oh, how I miss Virginia in terms of its climate this time of year.

    This is when I remember that I need a greenhouse to survive in Vermont. There are some people growing lemons in passive solar greenhouses up here.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  17. Shirley on March 5th, 2009 5:55 pm

    Kelly—Thanks! Mother Nature provides such wonderful surprises I think. Potato soup is such a nice comfort food, isn’t it? And, you’d never know when you are eating this luscious soup, just how economical it is … such a nice bonus.

  18. Shirley on March 5th, 2009 6:02 pm

    Matt—I hear you. I love visiting VT, but in the warmer months. Heck, we got caught on our motorcycle in all-day rain after visiting our VT friends one August and it never got above 50 that day. In August! Brutal. We were never so happy to reach our B&B that night!

    Cool re: the folks growing lemons in passive solar greenhouses. You have to get inventive in such climates! And, how neat to have lemon trees and lemons to look at when there’s a blizzard outside! Thanks for sharing that. I told my husband the other day that I never want to live further north than VA. :-)

    Shirley

  19. H.Peter on March 5th, 2009 11:13 pm

    shneaglochen?

    nah, that sounds too weird.

    shneagluckchen?

    Dimiss.

    schneegloeckchen

    That’s it….

  20. Shirley on March 6th, 2009 6:55 am

    H.Peter—Well, you ended up back where you started, didn’t you? I think I know how to say it, but when I make it to the countries where German is spoken, it seems highly unlikely that I’ll be talking about snowdrops with the locals. ;-)

    BTW, you might want to start testing out soups this winter for launching them at the GF Patisserie next winter. Start with this one. :-)

    Happy Friday!
    Shirley

  21. glutenfreeforgood on March 6th, 2009 10:05 am

    Shirley,

    You’re right-on about leaving the potato skins on. They do contain lots of nutrients and also a good share of fiber. Plus, if you keep the skins on while cooking, the nutrients in the potato stay intact better. It’s like the skins keep the good stuff inside.

    :-)

    I love making blended soups. In fact, I made one yesterday using one small Yukon gold potato and one sweet potato I had on hand (plus a bunch of other random veggies). Soup is such a good way to clean out the fridge.

    As for substituting something for the milk, I’ve blended up my own cashew milk and used it to make vegan tomato soup before. It’s a bit of a pain, but works well as an alternative.

    Your soup looks wonderful, Shirley. As does the photo of the snowdrop flower. Beautiful!

    Melissa

  22. Shirley on March 6th, 2009 10:57 am

    Hi Melissa–Thanks so much for the great info on the added fiber and how the potato skins provide more nutrients by themselves and by holding the nutrients in the potato. I don’t think I’d ever heard the latter, although, of course, it makes perfect sense. Your nutritional comments are greatly appreciated! :-)

    Oooh, that soup you made yesterday sounds divine. I love both Yukon gold and sweet potatoes, but hubby doesn’t like sweet potatoes (except in pie—seriously). If they didn’t have such a bright orange color, I sure could sneak them in more recipes! LOL But, I know the color is yet another indication of how good they are for you.

    Several readers make the nut milks and use them for all kinds of recipes. I think it’s just getting in the routine of making them. I definitely want to try that sometime … but again I’ll have to do it discreetly. ;-)

    Thanks for the kudos! Dawnzy58 at Flickr took the wonderful photo, but I did select it out of so many other great photos, so I do have good taste!

    Shirley

  23. Melanie on March 7th, 2009 10:27 am

    Hi Shirley,

    Your soup looks wonderful!
    I think you may have tried to send me your address, and somehow the email got lost, and I haven’t been able to retrieve it!

    Please send it again to melkrumrey@gmail.com and I will send a book on to you!

    Thanks!
    Melanie

  24. Shirley on March 7th, 2009 2:31 pm

    Hi Melanie–Thanks very much! Do give this recipe a try when you are pushed for time and want something comforting, easy, and frugal. I’ll send you an email. I am really hoping we can do a nice barter. ;-)

    Have a great weekend!
    Shirley

  25. Shirley on May 13th, 2009 10:06 pm

    Just wanted to add a note that A and Z of Gluten Free From A to Z made this recipe and published their review on their site. You can read it here as well as my comments. Thanks A and Z!

    Shirley

  26. Terry on December 7th, 2010 9:42 am

    Oh my gosh… that looks so good, especially since it is so cold outside.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and linking your blog to the Gluten Free Linky.

  27. Heidi @adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com on December 28th, 2010 11:38 pm

    Aw, crap Shirley! I’ve made it a week and a half without cheese and now I can think of nothing else I want more than this soup, LOL!! I may have to give it one last hurrah (the devil made me do it??). :-D

    This was always a favorite soup of mine and definitely loaded with bacon, cheddar cheese and scallions…yum!

    xo,
    Heidi

    • Shirley on December 28th, 2010 11:52 pm

      Heidi–You don’t have to make this soup with cheese. The cheese is optional and I rarely used cheese; it just wasn’t needed. Granted I made this with evaporated milk and butter previously, but when I recreated it to make clam chowder tonight, I used coconut milk and almond milk. The potatoes mixed with the milk and broth make for wonderful creaminess. :-) And, add in the bacon and scallions for sure. ;-)

      xo,
      Shirley

  28. Marla on June 27th, 2011 4:45 pm

    This potato soup sounds awesome!
    It is vegetarian week at Get Grillin’ we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don’t have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect!
    This week we have a ManPans giveaway. http://su.pr/3GCtXU

    • Shirley on July 7th, 2011 6:10 am

      Hey Marla–Way belated, but thanks for the props on the potato soup. Sorry I didn’t get to participate in your Get Grillin’ event, especially with such a wonderful giveaway. It looks like a great event for this time of year. :-)

      Happy summer!
      Shirley

  29. Brandae on March 21st, 2012 7:45 pm

    Shirley, I’ve had this recipe bookmarked to make for ages and finally got to it today (crazy that I waited for an 85 degree day in March), but I had to comment and let you know how absolutely delicious it is! Of course I made a few changes because of my pantry stock (red potatoes, evoo/coconut oil, sweet rice flour, almond milk), but I followed your template otherwise. I did add chicken to make it a heartier meal for all of my boys, and they all gobbled it up! I served it with Pamela’s Amazing GF Bread warm from the oven (with the coconut EB spread on mine). SOOOOOOOOO good. It will definitely be a repeat meal around here!
    Thank you!
    Brandae

    • Shirley on March 22nd, 2012 9:05 pm

      Hi Brandae–Thanks so much, dear! I appreciate you leaving a comment here and on my Facebook page. :-) I really love that you used what you had on hand and added some chicken as well. As I replied to you on FB, it was this soup that was my base for the New England Clam Chowder recipe, so it’s very adaptable indeed. I love making it for us and for sharing it when I need a meal for someone who’s recovering from illness, has a new baby, etc. It’s always well received and just so easy to put together. Ever since I read you comment on the fresh bread with the coconut spread, I’ve been craving that combo for sure. ;-)

      Hugs to you and all your boys!
      Shirley

  30. me52 on March 27th, 2012 12:29 pm

    Hi Shirley, I just found your blog while following some links from Ricki Heller’s Diet Dessert N Dogs. A few years back my naturopath tested me as wheat-spelt-kamut sensitive (and dairy), but staying away from gluten definitely seems to help with the bloating and stomach problems. Anyway, this soup reminds me of the potato-bacon-horseradish soup at one of the local cafes. No idea whether the original is GF, but my husband sure likes my version, especially during the winter.

    Thanks for the GFE tips and recipes, so easily adapted to (mostly vegan) and Eat to Live cooking. Great blog – it’s joined Ricki’s on my Favorites bar!

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