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Filtering by Category: soups and stews

Maine Seafood Chowder

Patricia Reitz

You might be thinking, “what’s Maine chowder?” In short, it’s a brothier version of the more traditional New England-style chowder, which is often thickened with flour. This chowder starts with a flavorful shrimp stock, but it’s thickened with a flavorful heavy cream reduction. Chock full of tender shrimp and bay scallops, this luxurious soup is guaranteed to please the seafood lovers in your life.

Start by carefully cooking the shrimp until it’s just barely cooked through. Here I’m using shrimp that still have their shells, but you can use peeled shrimp if that’s what you have. I like to cook them in the oven, like this.


When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove the shells/tails and cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces; set aside.

Freeze the shells/tails to make shrimp stock at a later time.


In a large dutch oven or braiser (I use one like this), sauté the bacon until it starts to render some of its fat, then add the leeks and potatoes to the bacon and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp stock and bring to a boil; cook until the potatoes are tender, then turn off the burner.


In a large skillet, cook the bay scallops in butter just until they’re barely cooked through. Be careful not overcook the scallops or they’ll turn rubbery.

Add the cream, reserved shrimp, and any juices that may have collected on the roasting pan.

Add the parsley and cayenne; stir well and heat until the cream starts to bubble.


Skim the shrimp and scallops from the cream and set aside while the cream reduces.


Allow the cream to boil until it reduces in volume and thickens.


Add the thickened cream to the shrimp stock.

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Stir in the reserved shrimp, scallops, and optional dry sherry. Stir well to combine.


Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

Maine Seafood Chowder - ButterYum —


Items used to make this recipe:

Maine Seafood Chowder

makes 12 servings


  • 4 ounces bacon, cut into bite-size piece

  • 4 cups sliced leeks, rinsed well

  • 1.5 pounds red bliss potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 8 cups shrimp stock (here’s my recipe)

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 pounds medium size shrimp (25-30 count), cooked and cut into thirds

  • 1 pound bay scallops, fresh or thawed

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

  • 1-2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)


  1. Cook shrimp until just barely done (directions here).

  2. When the shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel if necessary and cut into thirds; set aside. (freeze shrimp shells/tails to make shrimp stock at a later time)

  3. In a large dutch oven or braiser (I use one like this), sauté the bacon until it starts to render some of its fat, then add the leeks and potatoes to the bacon and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the shrimp stock and bring to a boil; cook until the potatoes are tender, then turn off the heat.

  5. In a large skillet, cook the bay scallops in butter just until they’re barely cooked through.

  6. Add the cream and reserved shrimp to the skillet, along with any juices that collected in the baking pan.

  7. Add the parsley and cayenne pepper and heat just until the cream starts to bubble around the edges of the pan.

  8. Skim the shrimp and bay scallops from the cream; set aside.

  9. Allow the cream to bubble away until it reduces a bit and thickens.

  10. Pour the reduced cream into the shrimp stock and add the reserved shrimp and scallops; stir well and serve.

Shrimp Stock

Patricia Reitz

Stop throwing away your shrimp shells! Instead, little by little, stock pile them in the freezer until you have enough to make the most wonderful, flavorful, colorful shrimp stock.

So what can you do with shrimp stock? Use it to make soups and stews, like this amazing Maine Seafood Chowder. You can also use it to make things like paella, gumbo, or shrimp and grits - I bet you’ll find a delicious way to use it!

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Start by putting all your frozen shrimp shells in a large stockpot, about 2 pounds of them. Doesn’t matter if they’ve been previously cooked or not - just toss them in.

Next you’ll need kosher salt, whole peppercorns, roughly chopped carrots, celery, onions, and a couple of bay leaves (not pictured).

Also, a good amount of dried parsley. If you ask me, it’s a greatly underused ingredient.

Add the chopped carrots, onion, and celery to the shrimp shells.

Next in - the salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves.

Followed by the dried parsley.

Now top it all off with cold water.

You don’t have to do this, but if you by any chance happen to have a couple of empty lobster shells floating around in your freezer, toss them in too.

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Bring the entire mixture up to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Strain and discard all the solids and chili the remaining stock for up to 3 days in the refrigerator (or freeze for up to 2 months).

Items used to make this recipe:

Shrimp Stock

makes 4 quarts


  • 2 pounds shrimp shells (thawed or frozen, cooked or raw)

  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped

  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley

  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 quarts water


  1. Place everything in an 8-quart or larger stockpot.

  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour.

  3. Strain and discard solids.

  4. Store strained stock in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

recipe inspired by Emeril Lagasse

Ugly Soup

Patricia Reitz

It’s cold and blustery outside, which always puts me in the mood for soup. I didn’t have a particular soup in mind so I took a quick inventory of my freezer, fridge, and pantry. I had plenty of homemade chicken stock in the freezer, dried lentils in the pantry, and kielbasa and carrots in the fridge. An hour later we were sitting down to a hearty bowl of liquid love. It certainly wasn’t the most attractive soup out there, but what it lacked in looks, it more than made up in flavor!

Ugly Soup

makes 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 1 medium onion, 1/4-inch dice

  • 1 medium carrot, 1/4-inch dice

  • 1 pound kielbasa, 1/4-inch dice

  • 4 cups chicken stock (try my homemade)

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 1/4 cups dried lentils

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté onions and carrots until onions are translucent.

  2. Add diced kielbasa and continue sautéing, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

  3. Add chicken stock, water, and dried lentils; bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer and cover for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender.

  4. If soup is too thick, stir in a little more water; taste carefully and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Patricia Reitz

When I was a kid and someone in the family got sick, homemade chicken soup was the go-to remedy. I don’t know why it worked so well, but it did and I’ve continued that tradition by feeding it to my own family at the first sign of any illness. So, last week, when my son unexpectedly came home with a sore throat and deep cough, I immediately started making a batch of my homemade chicken noodle soup. When I realized I was out of noodles, I added wild rice instead. It was a nice variation and I’m happy to report his cold immediately started to go away, and even better, it didn’t spread to anyone else in the house. I’m convinced the magic to this soup is the homemade chicken stock. Here’s to healing what ales you.

For this recipe you’ll need about 3 cups of cooked wild rice.

On a side note, check it out - this company uses a kind of velcro instead of a pesky zipper-top so their bags can be resealed easily. I wish every company would do the same. Big shout out to LUNDBERG FAMILY FARMS!


Ok, back to the recipe. Cook your wild rice according to the package directions, OR cook it even faster in an electric pressure cooker (instant pot). Here’s how.


Place 1 cup of wild rice in the pressure cooker.


Add 1 quart (4 cups) of chicken stock (I used my own homemade chicken stock, but you could use store bought stock, or even plain water).


My stock was unsalted so I added 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Be careful not to add too much salt if you use store bought chicken stock.

Set the cooker to high pressure for 15 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for about 10 minutes.



To assemble the soup - place the wild rice in a 5 or 6-quart stockpot.

Add the chopped or shredded chicken.

Add the frozen mixed vegetables.

And add more homemade chicken stock. Heat through and adjust salt and pepper if needed.


Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

makes 2 quarts


  • 3 cups cooked wild rice (directions below)

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken

  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste


  1. place all ingredients in a 6-quart stockpot and heat thoroughly. Taste carefully and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Note: To cook wild rice in a pressure cooker (instant pot), place 1 cup dry wild rice in pressure cooker with 4 cups water or chicken stock, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if using store-bought stock). Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Alternatively, cook according to package instructions.

More Soup Recipes:

Broccoli Stem Soup

Patricia Reitz

I don't know if you celebrated Valentine's Day this week or not, but we ate our weight in steak and seafood.  We didn't lose complete control thought - we managed to abstain from sweet treats this year, but I know many of you indulged in copious amounts of cream and butter and chocolate!  Time to lighten things up a bit.  

Enter the humble broccoli stem.  Do you say stem or stalk?  Anyway, my grocery store had a great deal on fresh broccoli last week so I bought a small forest and, after cutting all the florets away, I was left with all these lovely green tree trunks.  If I had just one or two, I'd cut them into coins or sticks and toss them into a salad, but since I had 1 1/2 pounds worth, I decided to make a batch of broccoli stem soup.  This is how it's made. 

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To start, trim the dry ends from the broccoli stems, but that's all - no need to peel them.   

how to make broccoli stem soup recipe with photos

Chop the broccoli into 1/4-inch dice.  Onions too. 

Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet with a good drizzle of olive oil.  (this is the skillet I used)

how to cook with broccoli stems

Add the onions, broccoli stems, salt, and pepper.

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Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to caramelize.

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You'll notice a nice brown layer of "fond" will form on the bottom of the skillet.  Mmmmm! 

is the stalk of broccoli edible? Yes, and here's a great recipe to try - complete with how to photos.

Add chicken stock and scrape up the fond from the bottom of the skillet.  That's going to add wonderful flavor to the soup!  

Uh, you do make your own chicken stock, right?  No?  Try my recipe here.  It's about a gazillions times better than store bought.

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Bring the chicken stock to gentle boil and throw in a whole clove of garlic.  Continue to cook for about 15 minutes.

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Remove skillet from heat and puree to the thickness you desire.  I like some texture to remain, so I used an immersion blender (like this one), but you could also puree the soup in batches using a blender or food processor.  

Broccoli Stem Soup. Broccoli Stalk Soup. RECIPE and HOW TO PHOTOS.

That's all there is to it.  A healthy, frugal soup that's gluten-free, dairy-free, and practically fat-free.  Want to make it vegan too?  Just use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  

Items used to make this recipe:

Broccoli Stem Soup

makes 6 cups


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli stems, diced

  • 1 pound onions, diced

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 4 cups chicken stock (try my homemade)

  • 1 whole clove of garlic, peeled


  1. In a very large skillet over medium heat, saute broccoli stems, onions, salt, and pepper in olive oil until caramelized.

  2. Add chicken stock and garlic clove; bring to a gentle boil for 15 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and puree to desired thickness.

  4. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.


Hot Ume Somen Noodle Bowls

Patricia Reitz

Hot Ume Somen Noodle Bowls - ButterYum

Hot Ume Somen Noodle Bowls - ButterYum

When one of my daughters visited Japan, she brought home a package of pink noodles (ume somen).  The noodles get their lovely color from plums and they have a delicately sweet flavor.  The noodles are hard to find in the US, but if you come across them, do yourself a favor and grab several packages.  If you can't find them, you can make the same tasty dish by substituting white somen or buckwheat soba noodles. 

If you're interested in seeing how these noodles are traditionally used, check out my recipe for cold ume somen with spicy dressing.

For this recipe we'll need the noodles, edamame (soy beans), instant dashi granules, shredded crab meat, salt, and scallions.

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water - they don't take very long to cook so keep a close eye on them.  3-5 minutes is all it takes.

Drain and rinse to stop the cooking process. 

Although the leftover cooking water is a lovely pink color, discard it and fill the same pan with 4 cups of fresh cold water.

Add instant dashi granules to taste - they are VERY STRONG so start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more if needed.

Stir and bring to a simmer.

how to make hot ume somen noodle bowls - recipe and how-to photos

Ladle hot dashi broth into bowls and divide remaining ingredients between the bowls.

Hot Ume Somen Noodle Bowls

makes 2 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 8 ounces Ume Somen (plum noodles) or other noodles
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • instant dashi granules
  • 8 crab sticks, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked, shelled edamame
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. In a large pot, 8 cups of water to a boil; add salt and stir to dissolve.
  2. Cook noodles in boiling water, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes until soft, but not mushy.
  3. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process; set aside
  4. Discard the water used to cook the noodles.
  5. In the same large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  6. Add instant dashi granules to taste (I start with about 1/4 teaspoon or so).
  7. Ladel hot dashi into soup bowls.
  8. Add noodles, crab, and edamame to the bowls; sprinkle with sliced scallions.  


Skinny Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Patricia Reitz

Question - if you lighten up traditional potato soup, you can add extra toppings, right?  Right! And the fact that this recipe is fast and easy to make means you can sit down to a piping hot bowl of homemade soup in less than an hour.

Start by cooking chopped cauliflower in chicken stock until it's tender.  The smaller you chop the cauliflower, the faster it will cook.  

The cauliflower does not need to be completely covered with chicken stock - we're going to cover the pan and take full advantage of the power of hot steam.  Total cooking time should be about 10 minutes.

Add leftover cooked Idaho potatoes and ground black pepper (hold off on adding any salt at this time).  The potatoes can be boiled, steamed, mashed, baked - just be sure to peel them so the finished color of the soup stays light and bright (you know, for optimal eye appeal).  

I know some people think you should use white pepper in light colored soups, but I'm not fond of the flavor and I really like to see the specks of black pepper in my soup.  That's just me.  You do you.  

Add milk and plain Greek yogurt.  You can substitute sour cream or creme fraiche, but Greek yogurt adds a ton of protein.  

Turn off the heat and grab your handy-dandy immersion blender, aka stick blender.  You could use a food processor or traditional blender as well, but you have to be careful not to over-process the mixture to prevent the potatoes from developing a glue-like texture. 

Blend until smooth-ish - I like my soup to retain a little texture, and actually, a lump or two doesn't bother me at all.  Turn the heat back on and heat the soup for a few more minutes until hot.  Important, taste at this point and add salt if necessary, being mindful of the salt content of whatever toppings you plan to add.

Skinny Loaded Potato Soup Recipe with How-To Photos

Now for the fun part, garnish with plenty of traditional baked potato toppings like, chives, bacon, cheese - whatever floats your boat.  Enjoy!

Skinny Loaded Baked Potato Soup

makes 4 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/4 pounds chopped cauliflower

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 1 1/4 pounds leftover peeled and cooked Idaho potatoes, cubed

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream or creme fraiche)

  • Kosher salt to taste

  • garnish: chopped chives, shredded cheddar, cooked bacon, etc


  1. In a 5 or 6-quart casserole over medium heat, cook cauliflower in chicken stock, covered, until the cauliflower is tender.

  2. Add cooked potatoes, black pepper, milk, and Greek yogurt.

  3. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.

  4. Turn heat back on and heat soup for a few minutes until hot.

  5. Taste soup and add salt if necessary, being mindful of the salt content of the toppings you plan to garnish with.

  6. Garnish and serve.


Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Patricia Reitz

Cream of Cauliflower Soup - ButterYum

Cream of Cauliflower Soup - ButterYum

Flavor, flavor, flavor - that's the first thing that comes to mind when I think about this soup.  Then I think about how I can hide it in the fridge so I won't have to share it with anyone.  Shame on me.

Let's begin by sauteing cauliflower, onions, garlic, and a little kosher salt in extra virgin olive oil until the cauliflower begins to soften and everything caramelizes a bit.  This is going to add a lot of flavor to the soup.  

Yes - look at those yummy caramelized veggies, and even better, the all that yummy golden brown goodness stuck to the pan (technical term: 'fond').  Oh, I wish you could smell my house right now.  

Tip:  keep a little water or chicken stock close by so you can add a splash or two to prevent burned spots if needed.

Time to get all that yummy brown goodness (fond) off the pan and into the soup.  Do that by 'deglazing' the pan with chicken stock.  You can use store bought stock, but homemade is so much better.  The difference is remarkable.

You have made homemade chicken stock, haven't you?  If you haven't, it's really, really easy.  CLICK HERE to see my simple step-by-step tutorial.  I'm telling you, the stuff is liquid gold! 

Okay, pour the chicken stock into the pan and use a wooden spoon to loosen the fond.  It will basically dissolve into the stock.  Note the color of the chicken stock at this point.

And here's the color of the stock just a couple of minutes later.  See how much darker it is?   You can practically taste all the flavor already, can't you?  

Cover the pan and simmer gently  for about 30 minutes.  

After 30 minutes turn off the heat and carefully ladle all the liquids and solids into a blender.

I'm sharing this photo just so you can see how well the deglazing process dissolved the layer of fond on the bottom of the pan.  It always amazes me.

Before we blend the soup, we need to add the last few ingredients - ground black pepper, heavy cream, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Are you drooling yet?

Ready?  Go!

But don't go too fast.  Blend slowly until the soup reaches the consistency you like.  I like it to be smooth, but still maintain a little texture.  

How to make Cream of Cauliflower Soup Recipe - How-to Photos.

I serve with some homemade croutons, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of freshly chopped chives.  This soup is so incredibly good.  I hope you'll give it a try soon. 

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

makes 4-6 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • 6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 cups chicken stock (try my homemade)

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • croutons

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • freshly chopped chives


  1. In a 5-quart heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, cauliflower, and salt in olive oil, stirring often, until caramelized. This should take about 15 minutes.

  2. Add chicken stock and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

  3. Lower heat, cover pan, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

  4. Transfer everything from the pan into a blender jar.

  5. Add cheese, cream, and pepper; blend on low until desired consistency is reached.

  6. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with croutons, olive oil, and chives.


How to Make Hearty Soup without a Recipe

Patricia Reitz

How to Make Hearty Soup without a Recipe - ButterYum

How to Make Hearty Soup without a Recipe - ButterYum

If you stock your freezer and pantry with a few simple ingredients, you'll always be able to pull together a quick pot of hearty soup.  Basically all you need is some protein, a little starch, a variety of vegetables, and flavorful stock.  Keeping a stash of Homemade Chicken Stock in my freezer is my secret weapon for a lot of things, but for soup, I consider it an essential.  Whether I buy a rotisserie chicken at the store or roast a chicken at home, I always use the carcass to make stock.  

For this soup, I started with about 8 cups of stock and added a small bag of frozen tortellini, 16 ounces of frozen mixed veggies, about 1/2 cup of frozen edamame, a small bag of frozen swiss chard, a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans, about a cup of mushrooms that I sliced and sauted, and 4 cups of leftover cooked chicken I had in the fridge.  And since the recent frost didn't completely kill all of my herbs, I added a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and chives too.   That's all there is to it - go make some soup!  

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

Patricia Reitz

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup - ButterYum

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup - ButterYum

I've said it again and again, sometimes the most simple of ingredients turn into the most delicious creations in the kitchen.  And that's exactly the case with this creamy leek and potato soup.  Wow, it tastes amazing - let me show you how easy it is to make.

To clean the leeks, start by cutting off the dark green leafy tops.  I'll freeze them for now and the next time I make my amazingly delicious homemade chicken stock, I'll toss them in.

Okay, cut the leeks in half lengthwise, keeping the root end in tact.  Rinse the leafy petals under running water to remove any dirt.  Because leeks grow straight up out of the soil, dirt and sand get stuck between those leaves.  

After the dirt is rinsed away, trim the root end away and cut each half in half lengthwise again.  Then cut across down the length of the leek until you have a whole bunch of chopped leeks ready to go in the soup pot. 

Alright then, to make the soup, simply saute the lovely leeks in a bit of butter until they caramelize a bit.

This is where I wish you could take a whiff.  It smells so good!!!!

But we're not done yet - it's time to add the potatoes.

Followed by some chicken stock, salt, and pepper.  Than simmer until the potatoes are tender. Seriously though, try my homemade chicken stock if at all possible.  It's so easy to make, but you can certainly use store bought stock of you don't have the time to make your own. 

That reminds me, I like to keep this stuff in the fridge for rare occasions when I don't have any homemade stock in the freezer.  I think it tastes better than cans or cartons of stock you can get at the grocery store, and it doesn't take up much room so it's easy to store.

Okay, back to the soup - once the potatoes are tender, you pour everything into a blender and puree  (I can't even begin to tell you how much I love my Vitamix).  Be careful though, you never want to over process anything that contains potatoes because they can become "gummy" or "gluey" when overworked.  Also, don't fill your blender more than 1/2 full because warm ingredients expand in the blender and you don't need green goo on your ceiling.  Of, you can simplify things and just use one of these.

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup Recipe w/PHOTOS

Stir in a little sour cream, sprinkle on a few chopped chives, and dig in!

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

Printable Recipe


  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned, trimmed, and chopped (about 3 cups chopped)

  • 1 pound red or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

  • chopped chives for garnis


  1. In a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat, caramelize the leeks in butter.

  2. Add potatoes, chicken stock, salt, and pepper.

  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer; simmer until potatoes are tender.

  4. Remove from heat and puree soup until smooth, being careful not to overwork the potatoes (which can make them "gummy or gluey".

  5. Stir in sour cream if desired.

  6. Garnish with chives.

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