Cardie Mortimer’s new food career is moving forward. Last week, the former TV executive taped an interview and cooking demo for the nationally syndicated program “The Better Show“. The show will air across the country on Fox stations tomorrow, but the air time in our area–3 a.m.–may not fit your schedule. So we thought we’d bring you recipe he’s showcasing here, and then you can set your DVR to watch how it is done.
Chef Cardie’s “Mardi Gras” Potato & Cheddar Cheese Soup
8 large red potatoes (3-4 lbs) or 10-12 small to medium red potatoes
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 head of flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper and more for seasoning
3 whole large garlic heads (roasted, directions to follow)
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 12 oz. can of fresh corn kernels in water (drained)
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups of half and half
1 cup whole milk
1 large loaf of day old French bread 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Several dashes of Louisiana hot sauce (Tabasco works too)
3 cups of sharp or mild cheddar cheese, shredded, reserve 1/2 cup for garnishing
1 pound of smoky bacon, diced and fried crispy, reserve 1/4 cup for garnishing
To Make Parmesan Croutons:
Remove the crust of the French bread and cut up into 1 inch cubes (you can leave the crust if you so desire). In a large enough bowl, toss the bread cubes in 1/4 cup of good olive oil and add fresh parmesan cheese to coat. On a non foiled cookie sheet, bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes stirring once. Be careful because these will burn quite easily. Remove croutons and set aside until cool. Seal them in plastic zip lock bag until ready for use.
To Make Roasted Garlic & Cheddar Cheese & Corn Soup:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place washed and whole potatoes in boiling salted water for about 15 minutes (the peels will fall off or leave peels on if you wish). Do not overcook or make the potatoes mushy. When potatoes cool, cut them into large 1 inch cubes. At the same time, place the heads of garlic (with top 1/4 of head cut off and the excess paper discarded) on a sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with dry thyme, salt, pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil. Wrap up the heads loosely in the foil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes. Remove the garlic and set aside until cool. Squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves into a bowl and mash slightly with the back of a fork or knife.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter together. Add the diced onions and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Stir in the potatoes, chicken broth, corn, milk and half and half. Stir gently. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are “fork tender”. During the last 5 minutes of simmering, add in the cheddar cheese, the roasted garlic and the smoky bacon. Stir well to incorporate.
Garnish the top of each serving bowl with the Parmesan croutons, some reserved cheddar cheese and decorate with the fresh parsley.
If you need to make your soup a little thicker, mix together equal parts of butter and flour into a small frying pan This will form a roux. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until flour has been cooked out. Add a tablespoon at a time to your soup to reach the desired consistency.