Saturday, November 19, 2011

Depression Potato Soup and Biscuits

My great grandmother lived until 101.  She was an extraordinary woman, healthy right until the end.  She lived through the depression and other times of having very little, making meals out of what could be found in the garden.  Meals had to be simple, using very few ingredients.

She passed on her potato soup recipe to my grandma, who made it for me when I was growing up.  My grandma passed this recipe to my mom, who also made this for me as a kid, serving it with baking powder biscuits.  Now, I have my mom's recipe, and occasionally make potato soup, every time thinking of my mom, grandma and great grandma, each making this soup to feed their families.

You start by peeling some potatoes.  There are no magic numbers for ingredients with this recipe.  It was pretty much always made from memory and never measured.

Chop the peeled potatoes and throw them into a pot.   
Cover the potatoes with water, and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, chop an onion and saute it in butter until translucent.

Once the onion is translucent, dump it into the pot. 
Add some salt and parsley and cook for about half an hour.

Put a bunch of butter into the pot. If you think you added enough, add more.

Then comes the fun part!  Make the dough balls.  Put 1 1/2 cups of flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl.  Add 1 beaten egg, 1 t oil, and about 1/4 cup water (or more if needed) until you have a dough.


After about a half an hour of cooking the soup, and stirring occasionally, it should start to get creamier looking.  If not, cook a little longer.  Add more butter - it makes the soup!  Add more salt as needed.

Once you think the soup is about 5 minutes away from being done, take some of the dough onto a fork and dip it into the soup.  Keep doing this until all the dough is gone.  Warning - the dough grows, so take small amounts.

This will create little "dough balls" or dumplings in the soup.

As a kid, these were by far my favourite part.  
I would always have my grandma make me one HUGE one.

Then, for good measure ... add more butter.

This soup is best served with baking powder biscuits, and I have the BEST recipe.

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup veg. or canola oil
3/4 cup milk

Mix above.  Knead for 30 seconds.  Roll out and cut into rounds (with a small glass).  Put on an ungreased pan and bake at 400 for 12 minutes.  Serve right out of the oven with butter or whatever.

Potato Soup Recipe

Peel and cube some potatoes and put in a pot with water to cover (or a little higher).
Cook until almost done.
Add 1 tsp salt (or more).
Meanwhile, cook 1 chopped onion in butter until translucent, then add to pot.
Cook for another 1/2 hour or so.
Add butter, parsley, salt - LOTS!

To make the dough balls, put 1 1/2 cups flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl.  Add 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp oil, and 1/4 water or more, until you have a dough.  Use a fork to pick up some dough and dip it into the soup in the last few minutes of cooking.

Serve with more butter, because butter makes everything better.

Are there any recipes that have been passed down many generations in your family? 


Amber said...

This looks AMAZING! I am so going to make this!

Kelsey Ann said...

and she would be so proud that her recipes are still being used, passed down through the generations. you know its funny because i was just telling someone yesterday that i love all my old cookbooks my mom has from her mom, passed from her mom, and so on. they are much more simple in the ingredients but it is amazing how fool-proof they are and how much flavour really exudes from them!

xoxo <3

DessertForTwo said...

I loved reading about your grandma. I'm so partial to depression-era recipes, as my grandparents lived through it too. Although, they always said the depression ever truly effected them. They said they never felt poor because they always had plenty of food to eat from the farm. They were cotton farmers in north Texas.
Have you been following Jenna @ Eat Live Run who's doing her grandmother's recipes lately too?

Have a great weekend :)

Anonymous said...

omg. I was all scared. for a second I thought you were depressed. I was like WAHHHHH. Anyways this looks so comforting..especially with the temps getting low!

Mom on the Run said...

This looks great. My grandmother used to make us baking soda bisquits. They were delish.

Unknown said...

You know....I have no idea if anything has been passed down through the generations! This looks like such comfort food! I must make it soon!

Simply Life said...

oh what a sweet story and recipe to be passed down!

Yelena (One Healthy Apple) said...

This looks like the perfect comfort food. I bet it's an honor and amazing to have been around someone who lived till 101- what a treat!

I need to get my grandmother's recipes from my mom. I don't think any of them are written down, but they need to be!

Anonymous said...

I have a few recipes that have been handed down: jam jam cookies, sucre a la creme, tourtiere, piquant meatloaf (has a sweet topping made of ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and nutmeg), cream puffs. All my favourites, of course, because otherwise, why would they have been passed down, right?

P.S. Butter really DOES make everything better :)

Madeline- Greens and Jeans said...

I'm absolutely making these! Perfect winter comfort food!

Kacy said...

That soup looks great. Love the history of it!

Anonymous said...

This looks like such an amazing meal. I love family recipes like that! For our family, it's "green spaghetti" that's been passed down many generations.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love, love, love potato soup! It's one of my fave soups! I think I could make this work w/ gluten free flour! gf flour is tricky because it usually results in a denser end product, but for a recipe like this, that doesn't matter!

Unknown said...

Yum yum yum !!!!

Ameena said...

She was 101? How amazing!

I have no cooking skills but my mom does have some amazing recipes to pass down. I'm hoping that Maya gets a clue in the kitchen so someone can carry on the tradition!

Emily said...

Wow, I will have to make your grandma's potato soup. It looks amazing! I love the little dumplings. Your biscuits look perfect, too!

Everything712 said...

wow! looks delicious :)
I like potato soup
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Unknown said...

So my mom makes me a version of this tht she said has been passed down in her family. Peel and cut potatoes and put in a broth left over from a roasted meat ( normally chicken) and make the drop biscuits like u did. Add some parsley and voila u have a soup. You are the 1st person I have come across who has something so similar to a food tht I love. Amazing

Anonymous said...

My Ukrainian father called this Sterinka and I’ve never seen a recipe before, thanks for the memory....still make this from time to time in honour of my dad!!

Rick Buxton said...

Do you get tired of people telling you they love the recipe, want to make it, but don't tell you if they actually did? I think they just like to "talk."

Anyway, before I make it, you say dip the bits of dough in the soup - do you leave them in the soup or just cook them on the fork and put them aside?

I will indeed tell you how it turned out.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

@ Rick Buxton

Oh, yes, I just push them off of the fork with a spoon into the soup. My grandma used to roll the dough out sometimes and cut it into little bite-sized pieces sometimes, but it is much quicker and easier to get a bit on a fork (it will double in size approx.) and put into the water and hold for a second and shake off the fork, or lightly push it off with a wooden spoon. It starts cooking and firms up almost immediately, so it's easy to do :-)

Rick Buxton said...

Thank you for the reply. I figured the "dumplings" would be left in the soup but I don't like to second-guess a recipe. Currently, the daytime temps are over 100 every day, so I will wait until things cool down a bit before making the soup, but I WILL let you know how it turned out.

Thank you for the recipe and the reply.


Rick Buxton said...

I am a big fan of Depression Era food. Making meals with minimal and/or common ingredients is as appropriate today as it was back then. As promised, when the weather cooled down, I would try out your recipe. I can assure you, we all loved it. There were no leftovers.

I must confess up front, I did add something extra. I baked a few strips of bacon - crispy, and garnished the soup. Although the soup was excellent on its own, the bacon added a little something extra - and would have been in keeping with the Great Depression.

As an aside, I served it with "Toast Soldiers," which were actually superfluous. The soup is hearty enough to stand on its own, especially with the "dumplings" being so substantial.

Thank you for posting this great recipe - I am in your debt, and plan on making it throughout the winter months.

Rick Buxton

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Rick, thank you for sharing :-) I am glad you made it and enjoyed, and mmm, it would be great with bacon! Good idea! I'll have to try that next time.

Take care,