Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Food My Grandmother Made - Potato Soup

I don't have many memories as a kid, which I think is kind of weird. I do remember pouring over fashion magazines and hand-me-down copies of J. Crew & Tweeds catalogs.  Anyone remember that catalog?  I remember getting a blue Beach Cruiser for Christmas when I was 7 or 8.  And I also remember cooking, lots and lots of cooking and eating.  And lots of watching mom and grandma cook.  My grandmother was an excellent cook.  Nothing fancy or fussy, nothing complicated, nothing that would appear in a cook book.  But man was her food good.  I have vivid memories of her making this soup, and now I watch my mom make this soup, and now I make this soup.  The recipes are being carried down, and devoured.  You won't find this recipe in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens or in the Joy of Cooking.  It only calls for 5 ingredients (not counting salt & pepper).  It costs less than $5 to make.  And it takes about 20 minutes to prepare.  It is hearty without being heavy and rich.  It is simple so the kids will love it.  And it tastes best when slurped off a piece of nice thick buttered potato bread (my Grandma used to just use Wonder Bread, but hey, I can only throw back so far).  I made this soup last night when the clouds were dark and there was a cold breeze in the air.  Oh, and it had just rained.  Even better.
Grandma's Potato Soup:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
6-8 potatoes, peeled & diced (count on 1 potato per person)
1/2 onion, chopped
apx. 3/4 cup of flour (depending on how thick you want your soup)
6-8 cups of water and/or chicken or beef broth (I used half water and half broth and it gave it a nice flavor)
salt & pepper to taste

Heat 3-4 tbsp. of oil into a stock pot and saute the onion and ground beef or turkey till almost cooked through.  Add the flour and stir, then add the water/broth.  Boil on medium high heat for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.  Serve nice and hot with buttered bread for dipping.
*Halfway through cooking, if your soup is looking a little watery (as mine did), take about 1 cup of the water out of the pot, stir in 1-2 tbsp of flour and add back to the pot.   


  1. Potato soup! That is total comfort food.

    I remember looking through J.Crew catalogs but my favorite was the huge Spiegel catalog my mom would get in the mail a couple of times each year. I would pour over every outfit and the look of each model.

  2. I make potato soup all the time when its chilly out..I add tarragon...gives it a really great flavor.
    i think its so nice how certain foods, songs, etc...remind of of others:)

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  3. another soup i can make! woo hoo!! i think this sounds great. it just might be what we're having for dinner.

  4. Looks delish!!! Thanks for sharing.
    Bonnie :)

  5. Great pics. I feel inspiration after reading the post. My mom also made a fine potato soup but I'm thinking of her pea and ham.

  6. Sounds Yummy!!!! Thanks for sharing.... Perfect comfort food!!!

    Michelle Torres

  7. there is nothing better that soup or stew in the fall when the weather turns cold. nothing like something warm and comforting on a cold, wet gray day.
    my mom would make this awesome deal with many of the same ingredients… only she called it hamburger slop (it wasn't soupy enough to be called soup) and we only had it when my mom and dad went out for dinner (which was not nearly enough, in my humble opinion). she'd make home-baked bread and serve it with lots of butter… mmmmm. i'm hungry now.
    but since my diet calls me to avoid potatoes and white bread like the plague, i'll just perhaps pull up those photos from your blog and lick my screen.

  8. This is great--I'm totally going to try it.

    I've been reading a ton of old cookbooks/housewife-y stuff and I think what your grandma was doing by using ground beef at the beginning (which you don't always see in potato soup) was making a homemade beef broth on the fly. So, so, so smart. I just love the ingenuity and out of the box thinking of previous generations. Our generation needs to up our game.

  9. Oh WOW - that sounds and LOOKS amazing. I have never been much of a soup maker... but this one sounds fool proof.... hmmm, I better retract that statement until AFTER I have given it a try!! :D

  10. Looks yummy and easy enough for me :-)

  11. Jules, yes, my grandmother was a smart lady and very resourceful. I think that's the thing I liked most about her cooking (and subsequently my mom's cooking). Someone asked offline if the soup is okay to make in advance and I say with a resounding YES! It in fact tastes even better the next day, kind of like Italian food. The potatoes and meat soak up all the good flavors :) Thanks for all the comments! Oh, and Sugar Mama, I loved Spiegel too! The only person I knew that got it though was my aunt so I only looked at it every now and then.


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