Irish Potatoes.....A Garden Staple
by: Bobby McDonald
On Saturday morning, I woke up and went outside, observing a heavy blanket of frost. Then, both Saturday and Sunday were beautiful spring days here in Hopkins County. The weather brought back childhood memories of this time of the year, when everybody in the country had a garden. This was the time of the year that you were planting onions, mustard greens, radishes, and English peas, those vegetable varieties that could withstand the cold temperatures and yes, even a frost.
One of my fondest childhood memories of this time of the year was "cutting the eyes off potatoes." This is the time of the year that we'd cut the eyes off a 100 pound sack of potatoes and you certainly didn't waste any of the potatoes that were left. This is when you had loads of potato soup, stews, and those kinds of dishes, on the table, that reflected the bounty of potatoes that were being used up. Then, of course, it was great eating the "new potatoes" once they were dug and mixed with green beans or even pan fried.
Can you remember going to the garden, on a frosty morning, with your dad or granddad, to check to make sure none of the plants were damaged? Or, to remove covers that had been placed over the plants to protect them? Maybe my family was the only ones that wanted to get a "jump start" on everyone else, and always seemed to plant early and have to cover those tender plants?
Enjoy the following favorite potato soup recipe, to relive some of those cherished memories (and yes, if you've got some left over Irish potatoes, from planting them in the garden, they can be used in place of the "store bought" potatoes!"
1 bag (32 oz) frozen southern-style diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup frozen chopped onion (from 12-oz bag), thawed
1 medium stalk celery, diced (1/2 cup)
1 carton (32-oz) Progresso® chicken broth
1 cup water
3 tablespoons Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 bag (8 oz) shredded American-Cheddar cheese blend (2 cups)
1/4 cup real bacon pieces (from 2.8-oz package)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
1. In 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix potatoes, onion, celery, broth and water.
2. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.
3. In small bowl, mix flour into milk; stir into potato mixture. Increase heat setting to High.
Cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in cheese until melted.
Garnish individual servings with bacon and green onions. Sprinkle with pepper if desired.