BARRY SAYS: While my nephew was being quizzed by Kelley about the many ethnic places to eat in Chicago, where he now lives, he mentioned that one of his favorite places is a Polish deli. When he said his favorite thing to order there is dill pickle soup, I knew immediately what our next dish would be for Courter's Kitchen.
It sounded unusual, simple and good, but challenging enough to be interesting.
Sure enough, it is all of those. We had my nephew send a picture of the label on the deli's soup container to give us a starting point on the ingredients, but that's all it was. Kelley spent hours in online research over the last several weeks and came up with several options. We also talked quite a bit about what to serve with the soup, since several options seemed good. We settled quickly on sandwiches, but choosing which kind was a little tougher. In the end, I'd say: Choose your own favorite.
KELLEY SAYS: Our nephew gets his dill pickle soup with pierogis - a potato dumpling stuffed with various fillings - which sounds perfect, but we wanted sandwiches.
I actually made three versions of the soup. The first was a trial-and-error attempt, which didn't work out right. I added sour cream during the cooking process and it curdled. It tasted OK, but it was not what I wanted.
For the second version, I added leeks, white wine and other spices and, again, while it was OK, it was not right. I also left the vegetables a little on the chunky side, and I used the colorful variety of carrots you can get from the Chattanooga Market, and it turned the soup an unusual color.
For the third version, reflected in the recipe here, I decided to keep it as simple as possible, and it's the one we both liked best. It's quick, and it screams for a sandwich with dark pumpernickel or rye, sausage and cheese and a stout beer. Perfect for a cool, fall Sunday supper.
BARRY: It's kind of surprising we've not come across this soup before. I think some people hear the name and assume the flavor will be overly briny, like drinking straight from the pickle jar. The dill pickle flavor is just part of the ingredients and, while it is a big part of the taste, it was not overwhelming in either of the three versions Kelley made. The last version, which was paired with grilled cheese sandwiches using pumpernickel and Swiss cheese, was a somewhat creamy version that was heavy on potatoes. I know we will have it again.
1 pound potatoes (I used a variety of potatoes)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 large chopped white onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 container (about an ounce) Knorr concentrated homestyle veggie stock
3 cups water
3 chopped dill pickles
1/2 jar or to taste pickle juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
3/4 to 1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 dollop sour cream
Peel potatoes, cook to almost done, set aside.
Melt butter in pot and sauté onion, celery and garlic. Add vegetable stock and water and cook for five minutes. Add potatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Take about half of the veggies and process almost to a puree in food processor. Add mixture to soup, then add pickles, dill and juice and heat for about three minutes. Remove from heat and pour in whipping cream and serve with dollop of sour cream and fresh chives.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.