· 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil· 2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)· 1 cup chopped carrot (2 medium)· 1 cup chopped celery (2 to 3 stalks)· 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)· 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary· 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes· 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour· 4 cups stock or broth, see our chicken stock or vegetable broth· 4 cups chopped potatoes, cubed (1 1/2 pounds or 3 to 4 medium)· 1 bay leaf· Salt and fresh ground black pepper· 1/4 cup cream, half and half, sour cream or plain yogurt· 1 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheese like sharp cheddar or gruyere, optional· For serving (optional): Chopped parsley, chives or scallions, extra shredded cheese, sour cream, crumbled cooked bacon, hot sauce
Step 1In a large heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven), melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften; 5 to 6 minutes.Step 2Stir in the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and then cook, stirring everything around the pot, for 30 seconds.Step 3Scatter the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until it looks medium blonde in color; about 1 minute. It will smell toasty, like browned butter.Step 4Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the stock, making sure there aren’t any lumps of flour. It will be thick.Step 5Pour in the remaining stock and whisk until blended. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer.Step 6Add the potatoes and bay leaf, and then cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are fork tender; about 20 minutes.Step 7Turn the heat to low, remove the bay leaf, and then stir in the cream and cheese.Step 8Taste for seasoning then adjust with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve with fresh herbs on top or for a thick and blended soup, use a potato masher to mash or an immersion blender to blend about half of the potatoes in the soup (this is Joanne’s favorite way to serve the soup).