Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds

October 16, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Ruggedly handsome and mysterious, this is a potato soup that leaves the cock-a-leekies and chowders of the world to quietly play cards, while it goes traveling solo through Andalucia on a moped.

Food52er EmilyC, who tipped us off to this recipe, said, "It's the most beguiling, delicious potato soup I've ever made or eaten." Luisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef called it the sexiest. Ladle it up, pass it around, and let winter's shackles fall away. Adapted slightly from The New Spanish Table (Workman Publishing Company, 2005)
Genius Recipes

Serves: 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) finely diced serrano ham or prosciutto
  • 4 cups chicken broth, or more if needed
  • 1 pinch saffron, crushed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, preferably aged, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Dense country bread, for serving
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Cut the potatoes into irregular chunks by inserting the tip of a small, sharp knife into a potato and twisting until a 1 1/2 chunk comes out. Repeat until the entire potato is cut up, then continue with the remaining potatoes; set aside. Alternately, roughly chop in 1 1/2 inch chunks. Peeling is optional.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the almonds and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so the oil doesn't burn. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the almonds and garlic to a bowl to cool slightly. Add the ham to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup.
  3. Meanwhile, place the almond and garlic mixture in a food processor and grind it. If you like almond bits in your soup, grind the mixture somewhat coarsely; otherwise, grind it fine. Add all but about 2 tablespoons to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Steep the saffron in a few tablespoons of the soup broth for 2 minutes, then add it to the soup. Simmer the soup, partially covered, until about half the potatoes have disintegrated, about 35 minutes. Skim the soup as it cooks if you like, and add a little more stock if the soup seems too thick.
  5. When ready to serve, check the texture of the soup. If you'd like it creamier, break up some of the potatoes with a sturdy spoon. Add the vinegar to the reserved ground almond mixture and stir it into the soup. Add the parsley and cook for a minute. Taste for seasoning, adding a little more vinegar if necessary. Serve the soup with bread.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Soup|Parsley|Potato|Vinegar|Saffron|Almond|One-Pot Wonders|Serves a Crowd|Fall|Winter

Reviews (26) Questions (2)

26 Reviews

Kirsten M. December 12, 2017
As hard as I tried, I cannot say anything nice about this soup. It is about as boring and tasty as old socks cooked for a day. Sorry folks, someone has to be honest here.<br />And as for many posters here, if you substitute about half of the ingredients, then this is not the same soup!
 
Rick November 5, 2017
This is a wonderful recipe. I've made it several times over the last couple of years. Potato soup is always delicious but kind of boring. This soup is delicious and definitely not boring. It's wonderful.The ingredients throw a curvball right into your tastebuds! Make it!
 
Mae March 15, 2017
I've made this soup a few times over the last few months - it is one of the best soups I've ever made! I veganize it by using vegetable broth. To replace the bulk content of the ham, I have used a big handful of greens, and most recently a cup of chopped celery. So good! I think the greens version is my favorite :)
 
MiaChae November 2, 2016
I just made this soup tonight because my son requested potato soup and we don't do dairy. I was a little skeptical because my husband doesn't like nuts in his food and my boys who are 9 and 12 have pretty diverse palettes but again they are 9 and 12. After reading the comments, I decided to give it a try and it was a huge hit! I made a double batch and my 9 year old (who requested the soup) had 4 bowls! Later tonight, my old son warmed up another bowl, they both requested it for their school lunch tomorrow AND my husband loved it despite the nuts. the only mods I made was adding a bit of onion and I had to use red wine vinegar instead of sherry (I live in Italy and running to the store to get sherry vinegar is not so easy). I think it would be a great starter for a dinner party. Next time I will try with the smoked paprika. This is definitely a keeper!
 
MiaChae November 2, 2016
I just made this soup tonight because my son requested potato soup and we don't do dairy. I was a little skeptical because my husband doesn't like nuts in his food and my boys who are 9 and 12 have pretty diverse palettes but again they are 9 and 12. After reading the comments, I decided to give it a try and it was a huge hit! I made a double batch and my 9 year old (who requested the soup) had 4 bowls! Later tonight, my old son warmed up another bowl, they both requested it for their school lunch tomorrow AND my husband loved it despite the nuts. the only mods I made was adding a bit of onion and I had to use red wine vinegar instead of sherry (I live in Italy and running to the store to get sherry vinegar is not so easy). I think it would be a great starter for a dinner party. Next time I will try with the smoked paprika. This is definitely a keeper!
 
Mmabatho April 25, 2016
Made this tonight. Followed recipe to the T. It was delicious. Thanks so much for sharing:)
 
bellly November 19, 2015
Just to confirm, the potatoes supposed to be cooked already before going into the soup, correct? How should we cook them, boil them? Or oven? Or doesn't matter?
 
homecookin December 17, 2015
Belly, I didn't cook the potatoes first, they cook in the broth. Was very good. Also liked with smoked paprika added as p/lew and used veg broth, no meat.
 
Auntie L. January 31, 2015
I made this without saffron, and used almond flour but not almonds. Put bread on the bottom of the bowl. Added avocado on top. Used chicken instead of ham. GREAT soup - will make again, and follow the directions next time....
 
amy November 11, 2014
Excellent soup. Followed directions exactly, and it came out perfect. Will make again soon.
 
Ticketytwo November 9, 2014
I made this today using mild chorizo instead of ham. Delicious!
 
Betsey January 26, 2014
I've made the version with cod and potatoes. Quick, satisfying and just as mysteriously delicious.
 
mainesoul January 4, 2014
This is a great soup recipe.<br />
 
Monica L. December 12, 2013
I'm eating this now for dinner and it is wonderful! I prefer the thin soup so I just cut up the potato before serving, not squash them. It's the perfect comfort food for my son who is not feeling well. The ingredients are staples that I have around the house so I didn't have to go out and buy stuff. I used bacon in place of the ham and I think it works! I'll definitely make this for the next dinner party, whether I'm hosting it or not. Recipe is now saved in my 'Love These' recipe folder!
 
Lemoni December 9, 2013
This would be okay using whole, unblanched almonds, right?
 
Kristen M. December 13, 2013
Yes!
 
borntobeworn December 29, 2012
I made this tonight and it was fabulous! We used diced ham (because that's what we had on hand). The base of this soup would be perfect for a vegetarian version with peppers, squash, mushrooms, and onions. Really, any veggies that are good in soup would be at home in this broth (using vegetable broth/stock, not chicken stock). The almond base is really amazing :)
 
Anne H. December 10, 2012
This was delicious and very easy to make. I used pancetta because I did not have prosciutto on hand but will try that next time. We will definitely be making this a lot this winter.
 
pgsmama1 December 2, 2012
I made this last night. Simple & absolutely scrumptious! <br />
 
MaureenOnTheCape December 1, 2012
This was scrumptious and I will most surely make it again. I'll bet it's even more delicious tomorrow.
 
Texas E. November 1, 2012
Great recipe! Get the best ingredients you can find for this--it will pay dividends. <br />Simple, tangy, and velvety smooth. <br />Thank you!
 
DeirdreMS November 1, 2012
Could you tweak this to make it vegetarian? Any ideas?