As I’m writing (and cooking) this, we’re two weeks into a four-week lockdown here in New Zealand. And in uncertain and unprecedented times like these, sometimes you need comfort food that tastes amazing without requiring much work! This rosemary potato soup definitely fits the bill. It’s ready in under an hour, tastes like it’s been cooking all day, and is rich and hearty enough to make the world feel a little more homey and less scary.
Best of all, it only needs familiar ingredients that aren’t sold out at most stores, at least around here! The only exception is the creme fraiche, which is a bit of a specialty ingredient. Luckily, it’s easy to substitute if you need to. (If you have a bit of patience, you can even make your own creme fraiche!)
Notes on This Recipe:
Rosemary: you’ll notice that half of the rosemary goes into the soup, and the other half is a garnish. This way, the soup itself is richly infused with rosemary, and there’s bright herbal freshness from the garnish too. When you add the first half of the minced rosemary to the pan to fry with the onions and garlic, only fry it for a few seconds before adding the stock. If you burn the rosemary, the whole soup can become acrid and unpleasant.
Potato cubes: usually I’m all about consistent sizes for a consistent cooking time. In this recipe, though, feel free to be a little more carefree. Cook the soup until the largest chunks of potato are done. Having pieces of various sizes means that the smaller ones will start disintegrating by the time the big ones are ready, leaving you less mashing work to do to create a heartier broth.
Potato variety: I recommend using Yukon Gold potatoes (or something similar) for this recipe, because they’re the perfect starch level. But you can absolutely use other kinds of potatoes if you don’t have Yukon Golds on hand! The finished consistency of your soup may be a bit different, but it will be equally delicious.
Garlic chips: this recipe contains an abridged version of my baked garlic chips recipe. All of the essentials are here, but head over to that recipe for more detailed information if you’re interested!
Creme fraiche: the creme fraiche is rich and creamy, adding extra richness that takes this from “delicious soup” to “serious comfort food.” If you don’t have creme fraiche, feel free to substitute sour cream or even unsweetened yogurt! Or, if you’re meal planning in advance, start a batch of your own homemade creme fraiche now so you’ll have it in a day or two.
Going vegan: it’s super easy to make this recipe vegan: just leave off the creme fraiche! If you do, add some thinly sliced green onions at the end instead. They won’t have exactly the same effect, of course, but they’ll add that extra final note that the soup needs.
Bread: I recommend serving this soup with a side of nice crusty bread. The combination is the perfect delicious, rustic combination. It makes it easy to imagine you’re in a nice fairytale cottage somewhere in an enchanted forest, far away from pandemics and lockdowns.
As a side dish: this soup is hearty enough to serve as a main dish, and that’s how the recipe is written. This is especially true if you serve it with some nice bread! But another option is to serve the soup as a side dish. If you do, I recommend serving it alongside a main course of roasted chicken. Substitute chicken stock for the vegetable stock in the soup recipe to tie the flavors together perfectly.
Take Your Rosemary Potato Soup to the Next Level:
Caramelized onions: if you have the time and energy, caramelize your onions before continuing with the recipe instead of just sauteeing them. If you do this, cut the onions into strips instead of mincing them. It takes the better part of an hour just to caramelize onions, but the extra richness of flavor is definitely worth it.
Roasted garlic: again, if you have time, roasting your garlic is well worth it! Simply slice the top off an entire head of garlic to expose the cloves, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, wrap in foil, and bake at 400 Fahrenheit (200 Celsius) for about 40 minutes. Once the cloves are meltingly soft and golden, allow the garlic to cool. Squeeze the softened cloves out, mash with a fork, and add into the rosemary potato soup. (I recommend using the fresh minced garlic as instructed too; this roasted garlic is an addition, not a replacement.)
Homemade bread: the absolute best way to elevate this recipe is to make your own bread to go with it! I’m working on writing up a recipe, but until that’s ready, try something like these gruyere-stuffed crusty loaves by King Arthur Flour. Any rustic-style bread that incorporates cheese is fantastic with this soup. It’s definitely more work, but if you have nothing else to do in lockdown, why not make a day of cooking and serve up an aromatic loaf with this soup?
Rosemary Potato Soup With Balsamic Vinegar, Creme Fraiche, and Garlic Chips
- 3 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves finely minced
- 2 teaspoons very finely minced rosemary
- olive oil
- sea salt
- 2 more garlic cloves for the garlic chips
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons creme fraiche (or substitute sour cream)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add the finely chopped onion and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Saute until tender, translucent, and beginning to leave brown flecks on the pan, 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the minced garlic and cook for 10 to 15 seconds, just until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add half of the rosemary (reserving the rest for later) and cook for 5 to 10 more seconds.
- Add about half a cup of stock, and deglaze the pan by scraping all the nice browned bits into the stock with a wooden spoon. Then add the rest of the stock, along with the bay leaf (crumple it slightly first) and the diced potatoes.
- Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make garlic chips by thinly slicing the remaining cloves of garlic. Coat them in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden, about 10 minutes (keep a close eye on them!).
- When the potato pieces in the soup are tender, mash about half of them to thicken the stock. You can use either a potato masher or just the back of a wooden spoon.
- Divide the soup into bowls, and garnish each with 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche, ½ teaspoon of minced rosemary, and a few garlic chips.
Want to remember this rosemary potato soup recipe for later? Save it to your favorite Pinterest board!