Cream of Potato Soup with Jalapeno Oil & Neiman Marcus Popovers with Fresh Strawberry Butter

You guys will not believe the weather we are having in Dallas.  For the 17 years I've lived in Texas I have never seen this much snow, a record breaking 12.5 inches of snow in a 24 hour period.  INSANE!!  We had a transformer blow out last night and the power went dead, thankfully we were able to seek shelther at Collin's parents.  Thank goodness for family :)

We woke up early this morning and built an 8 foot snow man!  Actually it was more Collin who built the entire 8 foot body and I sculpted the face :).  I was off taking pictures and I turned around and what do I see?  Collin rolling a gigantic snow ball around the front yard that sat almost as tall as my shoulders... I was concerned as how he was going to get the midsection on there, which weighed at least 200 lbs.  Thankfully with a family full of big Polacks (sp?), Collin and his dad moved it on there just fine.

It's been years since I've built a snow man, and never one of such massive proportions (Which I have my intense fiance to thank for that)! :) On our way back to our house this morning we saw streets decorated with all different types of snowmen of all shapes and sizes, it was truly adorable.

With weather like this I felt nothing could be better than warm bread and soup.  This classic cream of potato soup recipe can be dressed up in several different ways.  You can add bacon or sour cream, or perhaps some smoked chicken and cheddar cheese?  I decided to add some heat and drizzled it with some Jalapeno oil to give the soup an extra kick!

The popovers are to die for.  I had my first popover experience when Collin's father took us out for dinner over the holidays and the restaurant had served them as starters.  They were warm and had a crunchy outside but a warm and chewy inside.  The recipe I am using is Neiman Marcus', they suggest using a their popover pan, which I recommend using if you have it, but if not you can use a muffin pan.

Ingredients for Cream of Potato Soup with Jalapeno Oil:

(serves 4)

  • 8 medium sized potatoes, cleaned peeled and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, top discarded and thinly sliced
  • 2 small leeks, white part only, washed and finely chopped
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, washed, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery washed and finely chopped
  • 4 cups of chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • salt pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter starts to foam.  Add the leeks, celery, carrots, onion and shallots along with some salt and cook over gently heat for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the stock and potatoes, bring back to the boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer and cook slowly for 10 minutes.  Puree the soup in batches in a blender.  If you'd like you can pour the soup through a metal sieve.  Heat the pureed mixture and cream in a pan, check for seasoning and taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until oil slightly smokes.  Add the sliced jalapeno and allow to sautee until oil is fragrant and jalapenos are softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour oil mixture through sieve.  Set jalapenos aside for garnish.Divide the soup among four bowls and add a generous dash of black pepper.  Drizzle with jalapeno oil and add jalapeno slices.  You can also serve this soup with some crostinis as I have.  You simply slice a baguette into 1" pieces and brush with a butter mixture.

Ingredients for Crostini Butter mixture:

(for about 12 crostinis)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced

Mix ingredients together in bowl and brush onto sliced crostinis.  Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

"The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing.  It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it.  Popovers do not freeze well, and pre-made batter has a tendency not to work properly the next day."

Ingredients for Neiman Marcus Popovers:

(about 2 dozen popovers)

  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Place the milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch.  Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.  Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color.  Turn down the mixer to low and add the warm milk.  Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Spray a popover tin or muffin pan generously with nonstick spray.  Fill the popover cups almost to the top with the batter and place the popover tin on a cookie sheet.  (If you are using a muffin pan, fill every other hole because the bread will puff up when baking).  Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn down the oven temperature to 375F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside.  Turn out the popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter.

For Neiman Marcus' recipe they used strawberry preserves, I actually used fresh strawberries and 1 tablespoon of agave syrup.  I have cut down the quantity of butter so the following recipe makes about 1/4 cup of strawberry butter.

Ingredients for Fresh Strawberry Butter:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup good-quality strawberry preserves (I used 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of agave syrup (I added this)

Place the butter in a bowl with minced strawberries and syrup.  Beat on high until lught and fluffy.  To serve, spoon or pipe the flavored butter into a plate or bowl.

If you have leftover strawberry butter it goes great on toast or any type of bread you may have lying around.  It am sure it is great with preserves, but the butter is SO fragrant when I made it with fresh strawberries, I recommend that everyone tries this recipe.  It is so ADDICTING!!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I am off to ice a cake for a special someones birthday that is coming up!  :)  Stay tune on Monday for a very special birthday dedication post for a very special lady!  In the meantime, everyone stay warm eat lots and be merry!!!

p.s.

Our 8 foot snowman :)