Well, holiday hysteria is officially upon us. Sleigh bells are ringing, the lanes are glistening, and Christmas present shopping is in full swing! From the biggest Christmas tree to the teeniest bit of tinsel, I love every bit of this holiday season. That is, with one small exception: the wealth of holiday food. Don’t get me wrong, tasty treats and heavy dishes all have their special place, but after all, it’s a holi-DAY, not a holi-MONTH! So as I’ve found myself in the midst of cookies and cakes, baked pastas and creamy dips everywhere I turn, I wanted to make something lighter but still full of flavor for this week’s post. And in the words of Guy Fieri, this soup is going to take you to Flavortown! Warm, slightly spicy, and so comforting, this soup has sky rocketed to my list of favorite meals! A rich base of flavors are developed using a browned roux that makes your whole house smell of browning butter (read: amazing), a handful of tasty diced vegetables and delicious Idaho® Potatoes, and homemade creole seasoning that lends a subtle heat to warm you right up on these chilly winter nights! Although slightly more labor intensive than my usual recipes, this one is definitely worth giving a try! Since this is a quick-cooking recipe, I recommend prepping all of your veggies before you get started on the actual soup. Dice up (very small chop) a small onion, 2 celery stalks, and a half cup worth of sweet, colorful peppers. Although the recipe calls for specific amounts, it’s always okay to add a few more veggies and use up what you have on hand. You will likely have quite a bit of extra pepper though, so I recommend chopping it all up to use in other dishes such as salads, pastas, other soups, or eggs in the morning!
Next, peel one small Idaho® potato. Shred with a box grater (cheese grater); you should end up with about ¾ cup. Set aside. If you happen to have 4 cups roasted and/or sauteed potatoes on hand (hey, you never know!) then proceed to the next step. If you’re like me, though, and usually find yourself lacking in cooked potatoes, you’ll want to go on ahead and cube and peel three medium-sized potatoes. You can either toss the potatoes with 2 Tbsp. canola oil and roast in the oven at 425⁰F for 15-20 minutes (until golden brown) or you can saute the potatoes in 2 Tbsp. canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. Up to you!
Now that all of our “heavy lifting” prep work is done (it was pretty light, after all), let’s get our flavor base started! Melt 3 Tbsp. butter (I prefer unsalted butter to cut down on the added sodium in dishes, but you can use what you have on hand) in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour and whisk to combine. Let cook over medium-high heat, whisking often, until it is a deep golden brown and fragrant (it smells SO good).
Carefully and slowly whisk in room temperature water and chicken broth, whisking to combine well. Bring to a boil and add the shredded potatoes. Let simmer for ten minutes. Stir in the diced vegetables, minced garlic, and cooked chicken.
Meanwhile, mix up your Creole seasoning by combining 2 Tbsp. paprika, 1 Tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. white pepper*, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, ½ tsp. dried thyme, and a ½ tsp. dried basil (* I didn’t have white pepper on hand so I omitted it and increased the black pepper to 1 ½ tsp. It still turned out great!).
Add 1 Tbsp. of seasoning to the soup, adjusting if you would like more heat (store your excess seasoning in an airtight container). Add your roasted/sautéed potatoes to the soup and let simmer for an additional ten minutes or until your potatoes are fully cooked through.
This soup really hit the spot as far as hot comfort food goes; I recommend it for guests traveling in from out of town or for you after a long, chilly week!
And let’s not forget the GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment below telling us about a type of recipe you would like to see us blog about in the coming year (slow cooker, pastas, soups, casseroles, salads, you name it!!) and you’ll be entered into a chance to win this working replica of the Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck! The real Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck has been touring our country coast to coast throughout 2013, stopping in over 50 cities to help raise awareness and funds for Meals on Wheels, a non-profit organization that delivers more than one million meals each day to homebound seniors. That truck is 72 ft. long, 12 ft. wide and 13 ft. high and weighs 44,320lbs! Ps. You will qualify for a double entry if you comment both here and on our Facebook page! Winner will be chosen on Tuesday December 17th, 2013 by 3pm CT.
Idaho® Potato and Chicken Gumbo
Adapted recipe courtesy of the Idaho® Potato Commission
- 3 Tbsp. butter, unsalted* (recommended, but salted butter works too)
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- ¾ cup Idaho® potatoes, peeled and shredded
- ½ cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small)
- ½ cup diced red and yellow bell pepper
- ½ cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 lb. cooked chicken meat, cubed
- 1 Tbsp. Creole seasoning (suggested recipe below)
- 4 cups Idaho® potatoes, cubed and sautéed
Creole Seasoning- yields ¼ cup
- 2 Tbsp. paprika
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add flour to melted butter, whisking to combine well. Let cook for 2 minutes or until a rich golden brown. Carefully add chicken broth and water, whisking to combine. Bring to a boil. Add shredded potato and let simmer for 12 minutes. Add onion, peppers, celery, garlic, and chicken pieces.
- Stir in creole seasoning and sautéed potatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes (the vegetables should be cooked, but still firm).
Yield: 6 servings Per serving*: Calories 280, Total Fat 7g (Saturated 2.5g, Trans 0g), Cholesterol 65mg, Sodium 490mg, Total Carbohydrate 26g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 1g), Protein 28g, Vitamin A 70%, Vitamin C 40%, Calcium 10%, Iron 10% *Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.Jenny Dahl is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the state of WI.