Easy Meals - Irish Potato Soup
When you want food which is hot, tasty and quick to make, give Irish Potato Soup a try.
It is easy to make, very tasty and filling, and also economical. It can be made in under half an hour - which is why this traditional Irish meal has proved so popular for so long.
Potato soup can be served either as a filling starter or as the main meal. Serve with crusty bread, garlic bread or French toast. Add a knob of salted butter, if you wish.
How to Make Irish Potato Soup
- Potatoes (3 or 4 large potatoes per person)
- Big onion (or use leeks if you prefer)
- Garlic (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- Herbs and pepper to taste (cayenne pepper, tumeric, mixed herbs and spices are all good additions)
Bring a pan of water to the boil (or use hot water from the kettle to save time) and meanwhile peel and dice the potatoes and onion. Add everything apart from the cheese to the pan and bring back to the boil then simmer until thoroughly cooked.
Use a potato masher to make the pan's contents pulpy. Don't throw too much fluid away - you're making soup, remember!
Cube the cheese and stir this into the pan. You can use any kind of cheese, including several different kinds all at once (also known as Whatever Lurks in the Cheese Dish.) Cheese which has gone past its best can also be used, which adds to the economy of the meal.
Let the cheese go enticingly gloopy for a minute, then serve and enjoy!
Traditional Irish Cooking
Casa Bray Cuisine
Potato soup was a stalwart of the winter's menu, when I was a child. Mum used to regularly bubble-up a vast vat of the stuff, and it was a matter of fierce pride as to who got the best gloopy cheese bits.
My sister Hazel and I would be called upon to cut the cheese into rough cubes while Mum prodded at the steaming contents of her beloved pressure cooker. Actually, that's a pressure cooker in the photo but I only ever use it as a normal pan as I find the palaver of the pressure-system to be more trouble than it's worth. Plus pressure cookers make vegetables taste of boiled water and little else, in my opinion.
But the cheese... That innocent-looking staple food was the cause of many a surreptitious battle as we tried to shovel more into the pan than Mum approved of. We usually won, partially because she had only one set of eyes and partially because she liked cheese too.
When Dad would arrive home from work around 8pm or later, smelling of diesel oil from the the HGV lorry he drove all over Britain, more cheese would be added to the pan so he'd get his fair share. Two bowls and several slices of thick bread later, he finish off with a mug of sweet tea before nodding-off in his armchair. He'd be out of the house again at 4am, ready for another day's driving. One time, he worked those hours for three months straight without a break. In the end, when his boss phoned up to 'invite' him to work on his long-awaited day off, Mum pretended she didn't know where he was; he'd gone out and she didn't know when he'd be back. Actually he was sat at the table reading the newspaper, exhausted to the point of collapse.
My hubby, Richard, has IBS and so can't eat dairy. But the soup's usage hasn't died out in this household. Simply adapt the receipe by using a lactose-free cheese.
And my niece, Catherine, learned how to make it while discovering the joys of student poverty. Potato soup is economical, and fairly quick to make. After all, it's finished within the time it takes to boil a potato, so it doesn't eat into study time!
It's a family tradition, you see.
Making Irish Potato soup is Easy and Fast!
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© 2009 Adele Cosgrove-Bray
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