Day 177: Survivor Soup ♥

My mother was a survivor. Her mother was a survivor. My aunt, who'll soon turn 80, is a survivor too.

So when la dolce vita announced In the Pink, a worldwide foodie event to raise breast cancer awareness, I was a shoe-in. (So were lots of others, here's the long round-up of pink food, sweet and savory and even an entire meal!)

And I knew exactly what to make, an absurdly pink scalloped potato casserole someone brought to a potluck in July. As we savored each bite that night, there was even talk about the source of the color. The only real possibility was beets but if there were beets in that dish, there was no telling except for color.

So tonight I thin-sliced and artfully layered potatoes and beets with a creamy-garlic-Parmesan mixture and tossed it into the oven for the specified hour. An hour and 45 minutes later, it remained mostly an uncooked and certainly liquid mess. (Luckily, the rest of supper didn't wait.)

The culprit, no doubt, was the fat-free half'n'half substituted for cream. I'd been trying to lighten the dish, of course, but hey! it was in theme since fat reduction is a basic tenet of breast cancer prevention.

Since there was no hope of casserole, I pulled out the blender and, with the addition of another couple of cups of milk, ended up with a delicious and hearty -- and still absurdly pink -- soup.

There's a lesson in there, about accepting and adapting in the face of adversity -- even, yes, when the nearly inevitable lump appears -- and then returning to the scalloped potato-beet casserole another day.

2007 Update: There's a lesson in persistence, too. The scalloped potatoes and beets I was trying to make? They're the ever-so-gorgeous Those Pink Potatoes.

Hands-on time: N/A
Time to table: N/A
Makes 7 cups

(best estimation of how to intentionally make Survivor Soup)

Chicken or vegetable broth to cover plus a couple of inches
About 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, skins on
About 1 pound beets, peeled
About 1 generous tablespoon garlic
About 1 generous teaspoon kosher salt
Good sprinkling of pepper

About 2 cups fat-free half'n'half
About 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the broth in a large pot or Dutch oven over MEDIUM HIGH. Dice the potatoes and beets, adding them to the broth as they're prepped. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to MEDIUM. Cover and let simmer until the potatoes and beets are fully cooked (sorry, am uncertain how long this'd take, maybe 20-30 minutes?). Transfer to a blender (it'd be too much for my immersion blender and I'd hesitate to use a food processor given the gooey muck that is created mashing potatoes that way) and puree until smooth in batches. (Be careful pureeing hot liquids in blenders, if you put too much in, it'll explode all over, making a big mess at minimum and burning anyone nearby at worst.) Return to the hot pot and stir in half'n'half and Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.

Per Cup: 226 Cal (13% from Fat, 18% from Protein, 70% from Carb); 10 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 40 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 164 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 1140 mg Sodium; 10 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 4 points
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. hooray for 'survivor soup' and for veggie venture. (i must admit my first thought was 'reality tv' -- and that's scary, since i don't even watch television). cheers. glad to know you're sharing your food ventures

  2. Hi Alanna,

    Nice save! My much loved potato soup recipe orginated from a similar cooking mishap, and I've since decided that accidental discoveries make the best dishes. Your picture of the soup is wonderful...I love the little ribbon!

    Thanks for participating!

  3. Great entry! The look sof it and the thought behind it! I definitely am trying this recipe!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna