It is not necessary to precook potatoes before putting them in soup as it takes only 15 to 20 minutes for cubed potatoes to cook. All you have to do is cook the other ingredients until they are almost done and then add the potatoes during the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time.
How Do You Prepare Potatoes to Cook in Soup?
To add potatoes as an ingredient in soup, follow these directions:
- Peel the potatoes with a knife or potato peeler.
- Wash the potatoes to remove any dirt or grit.
- Leave the potatoes whole or cut them into bite-size cubes.
- Add the potatoes to the soup 30 minutes before the soup is done for whole potatoes and 20 minutes before the soup will be ready for cubed potatoes.
Why Should You Avoid Pre-cooking Potatoes Before Putting Them in Soup?
There are at least two very good reasons for not pre-cooking potatoes before putting them in soup.
- The first reason is that it is not necessary to use a separate pot to precook the potatoes because it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to cook cubed potatoes, making it very easy to add them just a few minutes before your soup is done and eliminating the need to mess up an extra pot.
- The second and most important reason is that the broth that cooks out of potatoes is very flavorful and nutritious and will add that hearty flavor and nutrition to your soup.
What is the Nutritional Value of Potatoes?
Potatoes not only contain fiber and carbohydrates, but they are also a source of vitamins B6 and C, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, and folate. Even though a medium potato contains 161 calories, it contains practically no fat and there are many health benefits associated with eating potatoes such as:
- Potatoes are a source of antioxidants which have been linked to the reduction of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Potatoes contain a type of starch that has been linked to the reduction of insulin which aids in the control of blood sugar levels.
- The starch in potatoes called “resistant starch” is beneficial to digestive health by nourishing the “good” bacteria in the intestines.
- Potatoes are naturally gluten-free making them beneficial to persons with celiac disease and other gluten-related issues.
- Potatoes are naturally very filling and can aid in appetite suppression.
Potatoes are relatively inexpensive and very versatile as they can be cooked in many different ways, and because of their affordability and versatility, are a staple in many households around the world.
What Kind of Potatoes Are Best for Soup?
Potatoes are not the same and all types have slightly different characteristics. Some are starchier than others, some are waxy, some have thin skins, and some are thicker skinned. It is the waxy potatoes with thinner skins that are high in moisture content that will hold their shape in soups and stews and will not be as easy to fall apart when boiled as some of the others.
Here is a list of the more familiar types of potatoes and what they are best suited for:
- Fingerling Potatoes: Fingerlings are generally cooked with their skins on in soups and stews, and they are excellent when “smashed” and served as an alternative to mashed potatoes.
- New Potatoes: New potatoes are low in starch, waxier, and are primarily cooked with the skins on. They can be used in soups, stews, and are excellent cooked in a white sauce or with fresh English peas or green beans.
- Purple Potatoes: Purple potatoes are medium in starch and are very similar to yellow potatoes. They are best used in soups and stews rather than for mashing, and they are much higher in antioxidants than the lighter-colored potatoes.
- Russets (Idaho): Russets, also known as Idaho potatoes, have dark brown skin, a mealy textured white flesh, and are high in starch. They are best suited for baking, frying, roasting, and mashing.
- Whites: White potatoes are white round potatoes that are also known as waxy potatoes. They are low in starch and are best suited for soups and stews.
- Yukon Gold: Yukon Gold potatoes are medium starchy and hold their shapes for soups and stews. They are known as an all-purpose potato that can be used in most dishes.
What Are the Best Ways to Cook Potatoes?
- Baking: The best and most nutritious way to prepare potatoes is by baking. This method allows the least amount of lost nutrients by cooking the whole potato with the skin intact. The skin is where most of the fiber is found in potatoes.
- Steaming: Steaming is another good way to prepare potatoes that will avoid significant loss of nutrients.
- Boiling: Boiling is the primary method of cooking potatoes which, unfortunately, is the least efficient method of maintaining the nutritional value. Boiling results in the loss of many of the nutrients found in potatoes, unless you boil the potatoes whole with the peel intact and use the water that the potatoes were boiled in to make the dish you are preparing, or as a broth for making soups and stews.
- Frying: While fried potatoes are one of the most delicious dishes you can make from potatoes, and even though you can fry them with the peel on to prevent the loss of nutrients found in the peel, frying adds a lot of fat to the potatoes, making frying the least nutritious way of preparing potatoes.
But, no matter which method you use for preparing potatoes, make an effort to cook and eat them with the skins on because that is the area of the potato that contains the primary source of fiber in a potato.
When Do You Add Potatoes to Chicken Soup?
When adding potatoes to any soup made from meat like chicken soup or vegetable beef, if you add the potatoes when you put the meat on the cook, the potatoes will cook too long and just break into tiny pieces that will be unrecognizable. To avoid cooking the potatoes too long, just wait until the chicken or beef is done and add the potatoes during the last 20 minutes of cooking time for the soup.
What Makes a Serving of Potato?
One serving of cooked potato is equal to one medium (approximately 6 ounces) uncooked potato. By the time you peel a medium potato, then cook and mash it, what you have left will be approximately 4 ounces of cooked potato.
The USDA agrees that ½ cup or 4 oz of cooked potato makes 1 serving.
Most people like potatoes, and there are many different varieties of potatoes available to use in different ways and as part of many different kinds and styles of food. And, since the potato is a dietary staple of people all over the world, there are very few households, especially in the United States, that do not have at least one variety of potato on hand at any particular time.
Potatoes can be baked, boiled, mashed, fried, shredded, smashed, and included as an ingredient in soups, stews, and casseroles. There are russets, reds, fingerlings, whites, Yukon Golds, new potatoes, purple potatoes, and even yams and sweet potatoes. So, when we have a recipe that calls for potatoes, we have quite the variety to choose from which gives us the opportunity to put our own spin on recipes by trying different types of potatoes cooked in many different ways.
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For more, don’t miss How to Fix Undercooked Beans in Chili (And Prevent It).
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