One of our volunteer sack lunch makers has a sister who has just entered hospice care after a long battle - and it's always a battle - with cancer. Our friend has been working very hard to feed everyone who’s come for last visits, and still shows up three mornings a week with her husband to prepare sandwiches for sack lunches which are distributed to homeless people. So my office mate decided to spend some time this weekend preparing some meals for them and their family. My small contribution is a pot of potato soup and some cornbread, into which I tried to pack as many warming flavors as possible: http://www.food52.com/recipes.... Both can tolerate reheating, and hopefully both with provide some measure of comfort. It’s certainly been therapeutic for me.
A note about the milk and cream: if you need a dairy-free version, feel free to omit both.
In a stainless steel soup pot, fry the bacon until very crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. When cool, crumble it with your fingers.
Add the onions to the pot and sauté in the bacon fat until softened and translucent. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic along with a good pinch of salt, and sauté until the garlic is fragrant. Add the flour and cook for three minutes.
Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to a gentle boil, then cover pot and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until all the vegetables are nicely tender, but not mushy, 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a stainless steel saucepan, heat milk and cream to a scald (tiny, uniform bubbles will appear all around the perimeter). Add to the soup and stir gently to blend. Remove bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You can use white pepper if you have it, but really, this isn’t a fussy soup.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with the thinly sliced scallion greens. Serve with love to people you love.