Potato Soup with or without Bratwurst

Last night I made this hearty soup while Craig manned the door and handed out candy.  This recipe takes a bit of time to cook and
the flavor improves if you let it simmer even longer.  But, it isn’t too labor intensive, so once you add the broth to the pan, you can leave it on its own
until it’s almost ready to serve.  You could definitely make this a day or so ahead, it reheats very nicely.  I like to peel some of the potatoes and
leave some unpeeled, I like the extra texture of the potato skin in the soup, but not too much of it.  For larger potatoes (less peel per ounce) I peel
half the potaoes, for smaller potatoes, I peel about three quarters of them. This soup is delicious without the addition of any meat, so if you are looking
for a vegetarian option, skip the meat and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.  Craig added some left over bratwurst to potato soup he
made years ago and it was so yummy that’s how I usually make it now. I used fat free half and half to make this a bit healthier.

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups diced onion

1½ cups diced celery

2 cloves of garlic, diced

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, about 4 large potatoes, peeled
or unpeeled (see above)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1 cup fat free half and half

8 ounces precooked bratwurst, sliced

In large stockpot sauté onions and celery in olive oil over medium high heat until onions are soft and beginning to brown.  Add garlic
to pan and sauté for several minutes more.  Add broth, thyme, parsley, bay leaf and potatoes to pan, bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are falling apart.  In separate pan, sauté sliced bratwurst over medium high heat until nicely browned on both sides.  Using a potato masher, mash soup mixture until it begins to look like mashed potatoes.  Add bratwurst and half and half to soup, simmer for 3 to 4 minutes  and serve.  Karen

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