Sunday, February 20, 2011

Potage Parmentier

I've been ferociously fighting off a cold for nearly a week now. My month is very full and that is exactly what I told the doctor last week, "heal me" because I really don't have the time to lay around. Of course he told me what I didn't want to hear, I needed to lay low and rest. When I'm feeling under the weather, I usually make soup and fill it full of nourishing vegetables. Remember this Chicken Noodle Soup when I came home from New Orleans and was sick as a dog?

A co-worker of mine brought this Potage Parmentier soup to the office earlier this month when we held our first annual Soup Kitchen. Rita artfully combined the best of two superb recipes, one from Julia Child and the other from James Beard. There are many variations on this basic onion and potato recipe, some using leaks, some using cream at the end or water instead of chicken broth. I used Rita's soup recipe and also struck out on my own along the way.

I began with one large spanish onion, thinly sliced on my mandolin. It is a total of 3, almost 4 cups of sliced onions, in my dutch oven with 3 T butter over medium heat.

While the onions cook down, I used my mini chopper to mince a cup of carrots.  This was my addition, since I wanted lots of veggies in the soup.

Next, I mince a few stalks of celery. This is another of my additions, I just love using the leaves from the celery stalks in soup.

We have nearly 4 cups onions, 1 cup carrot and 1/2 cup of minced celery.
The veggies got a little dry, so I added another tablespoon of butter.

Continue to cook and stir over medium heat.

Then I sliced some baking potatoes very thinly using my mandolin.

When the vegetables were very very soft, I added a splash of dry sherry and let the alcohol cook off for about five minutes before then adding the potatoes.

Then I added five cups of chicken broth. You can use just water, or vegetable broth also.

Bring to a boil, then cover and let it simmer over low heat until the potatoes are tender. The potatoes are sliced so thinly, it really didn't take long for them cook, maybe 15 minutes.

I thought the seasoning of this soup was brilliant. 2 t salt, 1/2 t nutmeg and 1/4 t cayenne pepper.

The nutmeg adds that certain something that you can't quite put your finger on. The cayenne, adds a very very little burn to the soup which I think is essential! Don't skip!

Most recipes I read then have you push the soup through a food mill or ricer. I don't have one, so I used my immersion blender on the lowest setting to very gently puree the soup. I didn't want to turn this into a tub of mashed potatoes so I just zapped it a couple of times in different places to break up the potato chunks.

The last step was to add 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and serve topped with chives. I think this French soup was very easy to pull together, used common ingredients I had on hand and definitely got me on the right track to healing. I'm feeling better all ready!

HWM Potage Parmentier
(Onion and Potato Soup)

3 c peeled and thinly sliced yellow onions
1 c minced carrot
1/2 c minced celery
3 T butter
2 T dry sherry
4 c peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
5 c chicken broth
2 t salt
1/4 t fresh cayenne
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 c heavy cream
Garnish with chopped chives

Saute onion, carrot and celery in butter for 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Add sherry and stir until alcohol has evaporated. Add potatoes and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Put the soup through a food mill, or use an immersion blender to break up potato chunks. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and serve with a sprinkling of chives or nutmeg on top.


  1. Sorry you are sick. Your soup sounds amazing.

  2. Thanks Leslie, I'm just about over it!


Your comments mean a lot to me, I love hearing from you!