CREAMY CUCUMBER SOUP

This soup is a good substitute for salad and can be made one day ahead.  Serve with Coeur d'Alene Cellars Viognier.

About 5 cups chicken broth
2 pounds White Rose or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 cups thickly sliced celery
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley or dill
2 green onions, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 English cucumber or regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 garlic coves, minced
1 1/2 cups creme fraiche or sour cream
about 1 teaspoon salt
about 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Saute garlic in butter in a 5 to 6 quart pan.  Add broth, potatoes, onion, celery, parsley, green onion, and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes mash easily with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, thinly slice a half of one cucumber; wrap airtight and chill.  Coarsely chop remaining.

Working in batches, whirl potato mixture and chopped cucumber in a blender until smooth; pour into a large bowl.  Stir in creme fraiche, salt, and hot sauce.  Cover and chill until cold, at least 1 hour.

Thin soup with more broth if necessary.  Test for salt and hot sauce and ladle into bowls and garnish with sliced cucumber.  Serves 8.

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