“Not everyone can be a truffle. Most of us are potatoes. And a potato is a very good thing to be.” Massimo Bottura, “Massimo Bottura: Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef“
A potato may not look like much, but just think of the things you can do with one. Mash it, fry it, turn it into fancy little puffs. It can even be made into candy — although I wouldn’t advise this unless you have the taste buds of a 5 year old and the blood sugar levels of an Olympian. Disgusting.
Even in soup, the humble potato has many sides. It can get all fireside cozy in a chowder — or shine like a sunny day at the beach.
This recipe — one of the latter kind — is my veganized take on a Mexican soup featured in a book no soup lover should be without: Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. Full of surprising flavors such as chopped green olives, mustard and hot peppers, all this soup needs to make a wonderful winter dinner is a salad and a stack of warm tortillas.
Sunshiney Potato Soup
Sauté 2 cups of chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent but not browned. Add 4 cups peeled and chopped potatoes (Yukon gold works really well), 4 cups water or veggie stock, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard. Cover, bring to boil and cook until potatoes are soft enough to mash with a fork.
Turn off the heat and, taking care not to burn yourself, use an old-fashioned potato masher to coarsely mash the potatoes. Turn the heat back on and add 1 cup peeled and diced carrots, 1 cup frozen green peas, 1/2 cup chopped green olives and about a tablespoon of diced and pickled hot peppers.
While this is cooking until the carrots are fork tender, puree 1/2 cup unsalted cashews, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1 cup water in the blender. Stir the cashew mix into the soup before serving.
Pairs well with a salad and tortillas. Serves 6. Keeps well for a day or two, refrigerated in a tightly sealed container. If soup seems too thick during reheating, add a bit of water.