We have lemons this year!
It’s been a while. The dwarf Meyer lemon tree I bought at the farmers market in the Bay almost 5 years ago has been through a lot. Pots on a balcony then in a backyard, mild Bay temps, hot Central Valley temps…
But it’s been in the ground for at least a year now, and it seems happy. If you can define happy by about 40 lemons.
Lemon is a tough ingredient. At least it is for me. I’ve always wanted the tree and, access to lemons whenever I need them, but when it comes to using them up. I get stumped.
It’s probably because I’m not the world’s biggest lemon fan, regardless of variety. I enjoy them in sweets, like those lemon brownies I shared or my pomegranate lemon cake, but in savory, I usually pass. Lemon chicken and other similar things don’t appeal to me.
But there are times when lemon adds a much needed balance of flavor and acidity. When the flavor is tangy, but not necessarily lemony.
So in an effort to use up all the lemons, I’m trying to find new ways to use it like this.
First up, this soup.
I love potato soup, but over the years I’ve tried to modify it way too much, cutting out the cream or milk, using stock, etc. It’s good, but it’s just not the same.
So I’m back to a more original version with this one. I kept it rustic by leaving the skins on my red potatoes, but you have options. Red or gold potatoes, or even russets, work great. You can peel them, or leave the skins on like I do. Your choice.
It isn’t loaded with milk, but I do add some at the end to make it creamy and comforting.
The lemon pairs well with the dill to give it a lovely tangy flavor that’s a bit refreshing. It’s a nice balance to its hearty, comforting side, making it a soup you can enjoy all winter and well into the cooler days of spring.
Rustic Cream of Potato Soup with Lemon and Dill
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
What you’ll need:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 pounds red or yellow potatoes, cubed (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I use Meyer lemons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
Chopped fresh dill for garnish
How to make it:
Heat the butter and olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the potatoes and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Pour in the stock and lemon juice. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft.
Remove the soup from the heat. Use a potato masher to gently mash most of the potatoes until it is thick with large and small potato pieces mixed throughout. Return to low heat. Stir in the dill, zest, milk, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes, until heated through.
Add more salt or pepper to taste, if desired. Serve garnished with fresh dill.