Sunday, February 28, 2016

Creamy Potato Soup with Chive Pesto for Souper Sundays (Yep, We Are Back with a New Linkup!)

Sometimes I just crave a simple potato soup, creamy, hearty and satisfying. Mark Bittman is always an excellent source for simple recipes and this Creamy Potato Soup with Chive Pesto is from his How To Cook Everything Fast. It's actually a suggested variation from the Creamy Parsnip Soup with Parsley Pesto in the book.

I made a few adaptations to the recipe--taking out the butter and chicken stock and using olive oil and veggie stock. I also made my pesto in my mini chop instead of by hand and replaced the pine nuts with cashews (because they were handy). My changes are noted in red below.

Bittman says, "Vegetables that will be pureed need to be cooked until very soft. If you cut them into chunks, getting there can take 20 minutes, even longer. But grated, they're ready in a flash." Because I wanted a semi-pureed soup and wasn't too concerned about time, instead of grating, I chopped my potato into a small dice that still cooked quickly (about 20 minutes), but allowed me to keep some chunks in the creamy broth.

Creamy Potato Soup with Chive Pesto
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp butter (I used olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs potatoes (I used russet), peeled and chopped into small dice
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water (I used low-sodium veggie broth diluted with water)

Chive Pesto:
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/3 cup pine nuts (I used cashews), roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil

Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and browning on the edges, about 10-15 minutes. 

Raise heat to high, add potatoes, a sprinkle of salt and black pepper and the stock or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer (it should bubble gently but steadily) and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine the chives, garlic, nuts, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper in a small mixing bowl mash and stir with a fork against the side of the bowl until the pesto becomes a loose paste. (Or roughly chop all ingredients in a food processor until it becomes a chunky paste.)

Turn off the heat under the soup and run an immersion blender through it until desired consistency--or, working in batches, carefully puree it in a blender. (I blended 3 cups of the soup in a blender and added it back into the soup pot.) 

Reheat the soup for a minute or two if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide into 4 bowls and spoon the pesto over the top of each serving. Enjoy!

Notes/Results:  A humble but tasty soup, creamy but hot heavy. I love the freshness that the chive pesto adds and the texture that it gives--it also has the vibe of a baked potato with chives on top. ;-) In addition to parsnip and parsley original and this variation, Bittman also pairs asparagus and mint, celery root and cilantro. I find this bowl of soup perfect for cool weather but hinting that spring is around the corner. I will make it again.

I am linking this post and its Mark Bittman soup up to Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs--our chance to make any recipe form the current chef Ellie Krieger or any previous IHCC chef like Mark Bittman. You can see the chefs and dishes that everyone chose for February's potluck by checking out the picture links on the post.

Many thanks to everyone who joined in last week for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays comeback. It's a slightly different format, making me less pressed for time on Sundays but still a fun way to see what soups (and salads and sandwiches that everyone is making). If you are not familiar, you can read about of the origins Souper Sundays' here

Here are three impressive soups shared last week from some of my good friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs:

Kim from Stirring the Pot tried Ellie Krieger's White Chili (and hominy!) for the first time saying, "Having never tried hominy, I can only tell you that I've clearly been missing out! Hominy is SO good! It has the most lovely and intense corn fragrance that I find incredibly appealing. The hominy itself is big and puffy, which is not only pleasing to the eye, but also to the palate. As far as I'm concerned, hominy is the star of this chili! In fact, I will be adding hominy to all my chili from now on, without question."

Joyce of Kitchen Flavours is back at Souper Sundays with Hearty Pork Stew from Ellie Krieger and says, "This stew is delicious. We love it. Thumbs up from the family, and a request to cook this again. The pork pieces are very tender, full of flavour from the red wine and all the other ingredients. The veggies are soft tender and I thought the green peas makes the bowl of stew looks even better with its fresh green colour. We had this stew with some homemade bread, and it was a satisfying dinner."

Finally, we welcome Flour.ish.en Test Kitchen to Souper Sundays with a version of Ellie Krieger's (notice a theme here?) Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with Ancho and Orange, saying, "What I like best about this recipe are the ancho chili with a little heat, and the orange zest and juice which give the chili the right amount of fragrance, brightness and acidity. This is such a tasty chili that I don't miss the meat at all, as strangely as it may sound."

To join in this week's linkup:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month) on the picture link below for the current week and leave a comment below.
On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional).

Linkups will be open until midnight (PST) Saturday each week. 

Hope you join in the fun by linking up any soup, salad, or sandwich recipes this week!

Happy Sunday!


  1. Potato soup! This creamy bowl of soup must be very satisfying. :)

  2. You are my go to site for finding new soups. I'm thrilled you brought Souper Sunday back!

    1. Thanks Tina--it's kind of a slow start back but it's nice to be here. ;-) And thanks for linking up your corn chowder too! ;-)

  3. Hi Deb,
    I like your healthier version of this soup. I would gladly have this bowl of soup for any meal of the day. With some crusty bread! Yums!

  4. I am picking up some chives for another recipe so I will keep this recipe in mind.

    1. I think the chive pesto will have lots of different uses Diane, in addition to being great on the soup. ;-)

  5. Great tips to grate vegetables in chunks which give the soup texture. So many good vegetable options and so many soups to try out.

    1. Yes, there are plenty of soups to try. I always love the number of variations Mark Bittman gives in his recipes. ;-)

  6. I love Bittman's take on everyday recipes. Potato soup is made all winter here. Now I will have to try this version.

  7. Love potato soup and I bet that your soup tastes great as well. I make potato soup for my sun since he is absolutely crazy about potatoes. Nice recipe.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)