The first time my heart was broken I crashed the car. As I swung around a corner, tears streaming down my cheeks, the low winter sun blinded me completely and I hit the hedge. Damn him, damn that boy. Now I had to go home and not only explain to my parents that my car was kaputt, but also my heart.
As I slumped at the kitchen table and wept, Mum stood with her back to me, chopping and stirring, making dinner. I was mad with her at the time, of course, for not being able to look me in the eye – what did she think she was doing making potato soup, carrying on as if nothing was wrong?
Then the three of us sat, Mum, Dad and me, with this soup in front of us, not speaking, eating only to the sound of spoons touching bowls. It is no coincidence of course that bowl-food is comfort food; nor is it coincidence that Mum chose to make potato soup on this very day for dinner.
The time will come too one day, no doubt, when I am that mama with my back to my children, chopping and stirring, concealing my own pain at their broken hearts, while making potato soup.
olive oil 1 tbsp
speck 200g (smoked pork belly), or smoked lardons
leeks 2 large, sliced thinly
carrot 1, peeled and diced
vegetable stock 1.2 litres (or water), cold
bay leaf 1 (2 if dried)
dried marjoram 1 tsp
pitted prunes 80g, chopped
potatoes 500g, peeled and diced (I like to use a floury variety such as maris piper or king edward, because they fall apart when boiled, adding to the creaminess of the soup)
unsalted butter 1 tbsp
shallots 2, finely chopped
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh parsley 2 tbsp, chopped
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and once hot fry the speck, leeks and carrot for 5 minutes, until the leeks start to become translucent.
Add the stock or water, bay leaf, marjoram, prunes and potatoes to the pan, then cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
While the soup is simmering, melt the butter in a small frying pan and fry the shallots for 5-8 minutes over a gentle heat, until golden.
Taste the soup and season accordingly. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and the fried shallots on top.
This soup can be frozen – reheat it gently.
From Strudel, Noodles & Dumplings by Anja Dunk (Harper Collins,£26)
Source: Thanks https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/jan/27/ofm-20-best-recipes-anja-dunk-heartbreak-potato-soup