I needed to find a way to use up the other half of that 10lb bag of taters. My initial thought was to attempt some sort of potato soup, but I kind of strayed from that. What resulted was more of a veggie & sausage stoup. Yes, I stole the word from Rachael Ray, but it fits. It's somewhere between a stew and a soup, so... stoup!
My bill for this one was just under $19. I had to buy veggies (zucchini, celery, corn, garlic, mushrooms & onions), half-and-half, and bacon. I already had an extra package of sausage in the freezer from the potato salad since it had been on sale when I went shopping for that, but I've gone ahead and figured it into my cost for this dish (about $3). So yeah... I actually only spent something like $16 on this trip to the store.
russet potatoes ~ 5 lbs
1 bunch of celery
4 ears of corn
6 mushrooms *
2 medium yellow onions
7 cloves of garlic
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1 package sweet Italian sausage **
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsps dry parsley
1 Tbsp dry thyme
2-3 Tbsps worchestershire sauce
3 dashes allspice
1 pint half-and-half
3 Tbsps flour
1 huge pot
Clean all the veggies and chop them (except for the corn) and the bacon into about 1" pieces. Cut the corn off the cob and save the cobs.
Heat large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon. No need for any oil this time. If necessary, adjust heat to avoid burning. When crisp, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Next, add the sausage and cook until done. (It's not vital to cook the sausage through at this point as they'll have a chance to finish cooking later, so you can cut some time here if you want.) When cooked, remove sausage.
Add potatoes, zucchini, celery, mushrooms and corn (don't forget the cobs!) to the pot, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Add water to cover. Add parsley, thyme, bay leaves, allspice and worchestershire sauce. Return bacon to the pot. When sausage has cooled enough to handle, chop into about 1" pieces and add back to the pot. Turn temperature to high and allow to come to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to cook stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender (30-45 minutes).
If necessary, skim fat from top of pot periodically. ***
Once potatoes are tender, remove corn cobs and add the half-&-half. Mix well. Remove into a bowl 2-4 cups of the broth. Whisk in flour until no lumps remain, return to the pot and mix well. Let cook 10-15 minutes to get rid of any raw flour flavour. Taste and adjust salt/pepper if needed.
If your budget allows, a tube of ready-to-bake biscuits will go really nicely with this. Just follow the directions on the tube. (I did this part while waiting for the flour to cook out.)
Download "Learning Curve" by The Hybiscus Journals.
* When cleaning mushrooms, just wipe them gently with a damp paper towel rather than running them under water to keep them from getting soggy.
** Sausage blah blah careful of MSG blah blah blah or use turkey/chicken sausage. You could probably leave the sausage and bacon out and still have a pretty tasty dish, though you'll probably want to put a couple Tbsps of olive oil in the pot before adding the veggies.
*** Don't dump the fat down the drain, as that can cause nasty clogs and whatnot. I keep a jar on the stove for fat collecting purposes. When it gets full, it goes out with the trash.