When I want a recipe for comfort food I reach for potatoes first. And when I need a soup recipe in a hurry, this creamy potato comfort always hits the spot.
Decades ago (yes, decades- how scary is that?) while I was still in art school, living in my boxy white washed one-bedroom off Dupont Circle, I would make potato soup in a blender (no crankin' Cuisinart or snappy immersion wands back then) and serve it chilled in Asian blue and white bowls (Pier One Imports, 99 cents apiece) with a sprinkle of bright green chives. Art student friends would scrape their bowls clean and ask for more. And I would gladly oblige. (They were easily impressed, because they were, well, not exactly starving, but used to living on instant ramen noodles, pizza and beer.)
The thing is- what's not to love about potatoes and butter and cream? How can you go wrong? In fact, when you can cook with butter and cream, you're bound to stumble upon something that tastes pretty darn good. Notice I'm not mentioning gluten. That's only because there's no gluten in this potato soup (I never thickened mine with flour). And then, Dear Reader, there's cheese. If you can cook with cheese, you can kick up any recipe's taste without breaking a sweat.
But what if you can't? Cook with butter, cream and cheese, that is.
Welcome to the world of those of us living not only gluten-free, but dairy-free. Call us GF/CF if you like (for gluten-free/casein-free). The truth is- 50% of celiacs are allergic to milk proteins. Did you know that? Half of celiacs need to be not only gluten-free, but casein-free as well. [This is not a lactose issue; this an immune response issue; if you react to dairy, don't assume it's a lactose problem, get a food allergy blood test.]
Many additional sensitive souls (celiac or not) react neurologically to the proteins in gluten and dairy- proteins that have an addictive, opioid effect on the brain chemistry of those of us who may not be neurotypical. (I, for one, have noticed a positive change in my overall sense of well being since going dairy-free last June; after living gluten-free for over five years, going GF/CF nudged me to a deeper level of healing and managing my usual ups and downs in mood, energy and focus.)
Which brings me back to soup.
How can I recreate my favorite potato soup without butter and cream? With some New Mexican inspired flavors, of course.
Golden Potato Soup Recipe for the Sensitive Soul
Those of us living well without gluten and dairy can have our soup and eat it too. This vegan potato potage is smooth and creamy without the standard butter and cream, and kicked up with a touch of roasted green chiles. Maybe we can't cook with butter and cream, Babycakes. But we can still eat well.
A splash of olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4-5 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, diced
Light broth or fresh water, as needed
1 cup of So Delicious coconut milk, rice or soy milk, as needed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Tiny dash of ground nutmeg- not too much
1/2 cup roasted green chiles, chopped (fun to mix with roasted red peppers)
Heat a splash of olive in a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes or so, till softened and translucent. Add the potatoes. Pour enough light broth in the pot to cover the potatoes.
Cover the pot and bring to a high simmer; cook the potatoes until fork tender. Add the coconut/rice/soy milk. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, whip the soup until smooth (or carefully puree in batches in a tightly covered blender). Season with sea salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Add in the chopped green chiles. Return to heat and gently warm through.
If the soup needs thinning, add a bit more non-dairy milk; stir; heat through gently.
Warm up some chopped roasted chile and red peppers; serve bowls of soup with a spoonful of chopped peppers in the center.
- Top with a garnish of additional chopped chiles
- Omit chiles for a simple, kid-friendly soup
- Add chopped fresh parsley instead of nutmeg
- Top with snipped chives or spring onions