Well, there is no more denying it. Winter is coming. In fact, this week, winter arrived! The thermometer dropped into the thirties this week and it even snowed in mid November. With our past couple of mild winters in the Chicagoland area I am just not ready to admit that this is fairly normal around here. I am a baby when it comes to the cold frigid temperatures and I am look for anything to warm me up. My comfy pants, a thick soft sweatshirt, the fireplace blazing, and……..soup. Yes. That is one thing I DO look forward to during the icy months. A nice, warm, satisfying bowl of soup.
Now you put homemade soup into a homemade bread bowl and it really brings the satisfaction and comfort to the next level. The great thing about this dish is that both the soup and the bread bowls come easily together. Of course, with this type of meal, it helps to have an extra set of hands or two to prepare it all. Folks, this is the exact sort of meal that Two in the Kitchen is built around. While my husband, Erik, is busy preparing the soup, the kids and I are making the bread! (They LOVE homemade bread!) Togetherness in the kitchen is what makes great memories! My kids love to put ingredients in the bowls and watch as the mixer goes around and around, and comment about the ‘funny smell’ that yeast makes, and punch as hard as they can into the risen bread to deflate it. And when we all gather around the table to share this delicious home cooked meal, we each take pride in the role that we played in bringing this meal to the table. Now THAT is satisfaction!
- 4 large baking potatoes
- 3-4 stalks of green onions
- 1 small sweet onion… ½ an onion if it's bigger than a baseball
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth (low sodium)
- 4 cups frozen corn
- 4 ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese (white cheddar preferably…so it doesn’t discolor the soup)
- ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
- 2 c. warm water (between 110-120 degrees)
- 1 t. sugar
- 2 packages Active Dry Yeast (1/2 oz.) I used Red Star
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 1/2 TBLS sugar
- 2 t. salt
- 5 - 6 1/2 c. bread flour
- olive oil
- Peel and dice the potatoes (I like them in ½ inch cubes) and put them in a bowl of cold water to keep them from oxidizing.
- Prepare the green onions. I usually peel off at least one layer from the outside of green onion, cut off the little roots on the end, and then thinly slice the bottom two thirds essentially starting at the root end and making my way up the stalk discarding the top third (set aside).
- Slice the sweet onion thinly place in a large pot and sauté in butter over low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent but not caramelized. Add about 2/3 of the diced potatoes and ½ of the corn to the pot along with the chicken stock. Bring it to a boil and reduce it to a hard simmer until the potatoes are very tender maybe 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in the blender in batches to blend until smooth. Or preferably use a stick blender to process until smooth.
- Return the blended soup to the pot, add the remaining potatoes, corn, and cream (optional) and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil and then reduce back to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes reach the desired tenderness and then add the green onions and stir in the cheese a little bit at a time until it’s all incorporated. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. If you like, and for an added touch, garnish the soup with a little more cheese and a sprinkle of green onion.
- Place warm water and teaspoon of sugar in a medium bowl and sprinkle yeast over the top. (Do not stir!) Let it stand till foamy. (About 6-10 minutes)
- Using a whisk, stir in melted butter, 2TB sugar and salt. Add 4 cups of flour, a cup at a time and whisk each time until incorporated. At this point, transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the bread hook attachment.
- Add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time and mix after each addition. After the 5th cup is added, begin to pay attention to the "feel" of the dough. You don't want the dough to continue to stick to your fingers after dough is touched. Continue adding 1/4 c. flour to the dough and mix after each addition until dough is smooth and NOT sticky to the touch. (You may not need all 6 1/2 cups)
- After the right amount of flour has been added, turn the mixer onto a medium speed and "knead" for another 3-5 minutes. (Until dough comes together, and is smooth and firm)
- Grease a medium bowl with some olive oil and turn out dough into the bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 45 minutes in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Uncover the dough and punch it down until deflated. Divide dough into six even parts forming large balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Loosely cover with plastic and allow to rise for an additional 20 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap.
- Place the cookie sheet into an oven, pre-heated to 425 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and remove the tops and fill with soup. Enjoy!