Cream of Vegetable Potage... A New Twist on Vegetables

I made this soup yesterday and it took me back to when Mom used to make it when I was a kid. It still stands the test of time as one of my all time favorite soups. Mom still makes it to this day. It makes for a wonderful lunch alongside a grilled Swiss and Ham sandwich on a cold, rainy Autumn day while watching your favorite Soap Opera. OK, so you've got a cold and that's why you're home on a Wednesday, stay with me here.

Potage is a French word that comes from the midieval Old French "pottage", which translated to "potted dish". This is not to be confused with porridge which is something very much different and made with grain. Potage is made with fresh vegetables and can also include meat. The method is to slowly boil fresh vegetables until a knife can easily run through a carrot or potato. The vegetables are then removed and pureed in a food processor. Slowly, the vegetable stock is then poured into the food processor and blended until a smooth consistency is achieved to suit your taste. As a final touch, the potage is then returned to the stove and brought to a simmer, all the while adding 1/2 cup of cream and a tablespoon of butter. That's how you make this hearty and warming French soup. You can also cook stew meat or boneless chicken legs or thighs with the vegetables. That all goes into the processor and gets pureed with the vegetables.

In the potage pictured, I chose only vegetables, so this is very safe for vegetarians. Here are the ingredients we need to make this very simple and delicious soup:

5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in halves
6 large carrots, peeling still on, cut in 2 inch slices
1 large white onion, diced
4 stocks of celery, cut in 2 inch slices
6 white mushrooms, left whole
1 large red tomato, quartered
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
salt and pepper
6 to 8 cups of water (or enough to cover vegetables by one inch)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon of butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of parsley, chopped

In a pot, heat oil on medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic for about 3 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables and saute for a few more minutes, stirring. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and slow cook for about 40 minutes or until vegetables can easily be pierced with a knife. Salt and pepper, add the tomato paste and Dijon mustard and stir to blend well. Taste for flavor.  If you're happy with the flavors, remove all the vegetables and bring them into the food processor. Puree the vegetables until they are very smooth. Add some of the vegetable stock while processing. Keep adding the stock until a smooth and thick creamy mixture is formed. Now slowly add and pulse the cream and the butter. When fully blended, add the potage back onto the stove and warm back up. Serve and enjoy :)

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