As you may have guessed from my last post, tomatoes are my favorite thing to eat that I grow in my garden. Well, they are pretty much my favorite thing to eat period. But last year, my favorite thing to grow was potatoes. Sure, I knew how they grew underground. I also knew how you went about harvesting them. But I had never done it myself, never seen it close up. The first time I went out and fingered a few new potoatoes out from the mound to have for a summer dinner, I was giddy with the excitement of pulling my own potatoes from the soil. I felt the kind of excitement I associate with my childhood, when all was new and fresh and amazing.
Around here, the old adage is that you should plant potatoes on St Patrick's Day. Well, we didn't even get moved in until May and didn't get the garden going until June, but my grandmother's friend gave me his leftover seed potatoes... So, I stuck them in the ground and figured I had nothing to lose. Within a couple months, I was wheedling a few potatoes out here and there. And a couple months after that, I was lifting a whole variety of sizes of beautiful red potaotes from a little corner of the garden with a big grin on my face. Maybe you saw one of the baskets full in this post on my photo blog. We got about two of those size baskets full. We stored them first in the basement, and then, when we started using the woodstove down there, moved them under one of the beds. I just used the last of them this week.
Here's one of my favorite recipes to commemorate the occasion:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1 to 3 carrots, chopped fine
3 Tbsp butter
8 medium potatoes, cubed
8 C. chicken broth (or veggie broth)
1 C. milk
1 Tbsp. dried thyme (or a larger amount of fresh)
1 Tbsp. dried parsley (or a larger amount of fresh)
1 tsp. salt (or to taste- depends on the saltiness of the broth)
Pepper, to taste
Saute onions, celery and carrots in butter until beginning to soften. Add potatoes and broth and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Stir in milk, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer for a few more minutes.
Now, depending on your preference for consistency, you can eat as is, use a potato masher to mash some potatoes in the pot, blend it with an immersion blender, or remove some to a blender or food processor and puree. You can mash/blend/puree it until smooth, or leave it- like I do- with some chunks of potato.
Serve with grated cheese on top. Perfect for a chilly evening with warm bread and a salad.
And, yes, I will be growing potatoes again this year.