Sometimes during the dead of a New York winter, stepping out into the freezing city air to venture to your neighborhood restaurant makes you think you might catch your death before you get there. That is when you need double-hot soup: hot because it's warm, and hot because it's spicy. So, if The Red Cat isn't around your corner (or even if it is), but the cold wind threatens to knock the wind out of you, here is how you make this pot of heat in your kitchen. The creamy potato soup is poured into bowls on top of a layer of melting Gruyère cheese. It produces an upside-down, inside-out French onion soup effect, that, combined with a dusting of hot paprika, acts as though you had happily swallowed a heater. This winter, beat the cold and the recession—make a whole pot for less than the $9 The Red Cat charges for one bowl of soup.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds Idaho potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes), peeled and quartered
- 3 cups low-sodium, store-bought chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese (about 6 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons hot paprika
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and sauté until softened but not browned, approximately 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, chicken stock, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so the liquid simmers. Cook until the potatoes are soft to a knife-tip, approximately 15 minutes. Pour the contents of the pot into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Set the cooking liquid aside.
Pass the potatoes through a food mill or ricer. Return the potatoes to the pot over medium heat and add the milk, cream, and 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Whisk gently to incorporate, but do not overwork the potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Finish by whisking in the remaining tablespoon butter.
To serve, put some shredded Gruyère in the bottom of each of 4 bowls, and ladle in the hot soup. Garnish with a dusting of paprika and the scallions.