Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Perchtoldsdorfer Potato Soup

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from my grandma asking what I remembered about our trip to Austria over Christmas. We went in 1989 to visit my grandparents while grandpa was on Sabbatical. He taught at Bluffton College after concluding his time at Bethel. This is what I wrote to grandma:

What do I remember about Austria? Ah yes, the UN Building and Jeremy being afraid of a terrorist attack. The Pumarin. Beethoven's 9th and the Ricola's outside all of the doors. My red hat with the feather and the best sausages and hot chocolate in the train station. I remember all the photobooths and sausage stands, the smell of chestnuts and the city. I remember the beautiful vest that was my christmas present that year and walking to the store with grandpa for Semels. Once, he opened his wallet and there was no money inside, so we had to go home. I remember the goosedown comforters and the skylights in the room where I slept. I remember Mook and Carol bringing Ferrero Rochett chocolates and thinking they were the most delicious things I'd ever ate. I remember lunch with your composer friend (Gottfried con Einem) and Jeremy and I ordered spaghetti. We ate almost none of it and he took the leftovers home to his cat. I remember quite a lot for being only 10! I think of that trip often and not a Christmas goes by that I don't smell Austria.

Yesterday I opened a Christmas card from grandma and discovered why she asked the question - this years' Christmas letter was a telling of the way our family, over that Austrian Christmas, acquired the most delicious potato soup in the world.

When Grandma and mom finally got this recipe, the ingredients were simply told to them by the chef and with the information, this soup was concocted. Most years, mom and I stand over the kettle, tasting, and deciding it needs more of this, more of that. But it always takes like Christmas.

Perchtoldsdorfer Potato Soup

1 generous ham bone
10 strips bacon
10 medium potatoes, finely diced
2 baseball size onions
Marjoram - 1t if powdered, 1T if fresh, 3t if dried
1 c. sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Boil ham bone in water, cool, and remove meat from bones. Total stock should come to 3-4 qt. depending on how thin you want your soup.

Fry diced bacon in large pan until crisp and remove some of the fat if desired. Add potatoes and onions and heat in hot fat over high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock and simmer until potatoes and onions are tender. Add ham. Add powdered or fresh marjoram shortly before serving. If using dried leaves they may need a slightly longer time for the flavor to blend. Just before serving add sour cream. Do not allow to boil after adding sour cream.

Merry Christmas, everyone. May your own traditions bring you happiness this holiday season.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I seem to remember your red hat with a feather in it! I remember you wearing it around Sound of Music rehearsals (Schmeckfest 1991) while your dad was directing. Am I right?

Leigh said...

I hope you have a wonderful time with your family this Christmas. There is no feeling like "going home" HUGS!!!

AnnaMarie said...

Oh Karin, I had forgotten but yes! I did wear that hat an awful lot during that musical...

Melissa said...

Christmas in Austria sounds completely perfect, as does the potato soup!

Claire said...

I remember when your family when to Austria for Christmas. My parents kept bringing up Uncle James and Aunt Phyllis stories when they went to visit the first time they were living in Austria many, many, many years ago and were envious. What a wonderful memory for your family... and I'm totally checking out that soup!

Merry, merry!

kristin said...

ah, austria at christmas must be magical...

Rae said...

What wonderful memories, tastes and warm and fuzzy feelings! Fabulous! I will have to try the soup! Love to you and your family during your Christmas trip!