Rustic Red Potato Soup (Low in Fat and Calories)

I won't lie to you: the potato is a starchy veggie, which means it's high in carbohydrates. But it's also loaded with vitami...

I won't lie to you: the potato is a starchy veggie, which means it's high in carbohydrates. But it's also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B6, tons of potassium, tryptophan (for boosting your mood) and anti-cancer properties. That's a good enough reason for me to eat least once in a while. People pack in the calories not from the potatoes themselves, but by adding saturated fats like butter, cheese, heavy cream and oil. 

I'm revamping the potato's reputation by sharing my hearty potato soup, a recipe you can feel good about for all the right reasons. Low in fat and calories but high in flavor, it's perfect for a chilly fall or winter day. I like to serve it in a mug, take it outside and enjoy it on my front step while the wind licks leaves off maple branches. You'll be licking the bowl.

Here's what you need:
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 large celery stalks plus the celery leaves, all chopped 
Why celery leaves? Celery leaves add great flavor and aroma to any soup. Never throw them away! Keep them in a zipper bag in your freezer.
  • 6 or 7 medium-sized red potatoes, cubed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cups cold water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg (grind whole nutmegs if you can find them; they're much more flavorful than the ground nutmeg that's been sitting on your lazy Susan for years)
Why nutmeg? Nutmeg really enhances the flavors of the vegetables and hums a note of autumn. It's perfect in any creamy soup.
Here's what you do:
  1. Heat a large pot on the stovetop (medium-high heat). Drizzle olive oil in the pot. Make sure it's enough to lightly coat the bottom (about 2 tablespoons).
  2. Add carrots, celery, celery leaves, onions, salt and pepper and sauté until veggies start to become translucent. Add your water to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. In a separate pot, boil your cubed potatoes. After about 15-20 minutes, test one potato by piercing the center with a fork. If the fork comes out easily, the potatoes are done. 
  4. Drain the potatoes and add to the soup. Add more olive oil, a pinch of salt, fresh black pepper and nutmeg. Put the lid on top and allow everything to simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  5. Here are your options: a) Puree the soup with a hand blender, b) carefully pour half of the soup into a blender/food processor then pour it back into the pot for a half-smooth, half-hearty consistency, c) leave the soup as is and do not puree it, or d) puree all of the soup until it's completely smooth. I like mine half and half--a little bit smooth and a little bit chunky so I get nice, rustic spoonfuls of the veggies. It looks pretty, too. The choice is yours.
Finish the soup with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately!



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