Potato Soup and Cornbread

Potato Soup (Serves 4)
1/2 stick butter
3 cups peeled diced potatoes (Yukon Gold)
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half & half or cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or thyme

Melt the butter in a medium sized heavy saucepan. When the butter foams, add the potatoes, onions and celery. Toss them in the butter until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes (do not allow the vegetables to color), add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup with a stick blender, or mash with a potato masher. Next add the chopped herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Thin with half & half or cream to desired consistency. Serve topped with grated cheddar cheese.

Old Fashion Southern Cornbread
1 cup of cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons of bacon grease or olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°. When the oven is up to temperature place a 7 to 8 inch iron skillet in the oven to heat.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Mix the buttermilk and the egg together in small bowl, then add this mixture to the dry cornmeal mixture and beat well with a wooden spoon.

Add the grease or oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat the bottom—use a pot holder—the skillet will be really hot. Pour the cornbread batter into the hot pan and return to the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes until nicely browned on top and no longer soft in the center.

Invert on a warm plate, cut into wedges and serve warm. Serve with honey and butter if desired.