Friday, March 4, 2011

Heaven In A Bowl: Baked Potato Soup

We've all had potato soup.  It's okay.  And we all enjoy a loaded baked potato now and then.  Put those two together and you've got something way better than either of those two could ever be on their own.  This soup is creamy, comforting and oh-so delicious.  It's got bacon, cheese, green onions, sour cream...Everything you'd want on a baked potato right in the bowl.  Garnish with additional cheese and crumbled bacon and you've got a soup that is hearty enough to be a meal in itself!  Baking your potatoes and cooking your bacon ahead cuts way down on the preparation time.  Do those the night before, and you've got a wonderful soup that is easily prepared after work, and ready for dinner in less than a half hour!
The Baked Potato Soup Party!
Scrub potatoes clean, and pierce with fork.
Bake potatoes for 1 hour. 
I put them directly on the oven rack.
Remove from oven.  Cool completely.
Peel and cut into cubes. 
(Doing this step the day before will
make this process a lot easier. 
Also peeling an already baked potato i
s more difficult than it sounds,
so don't worry if you're potato looks kind of weird.)
Melt butter in a Dutch oven. 
Whisk in flour until smooth.
(Whisk constantly because you don't want the flour to burn.  You've just created a Roux which
is the thickening agent for our soup!)
Gradually whisk in the milk, and
keep whisking until mixture is thickened.
Add cubed potatoes.
Add chopped green onions. 
I added some fresh chopped chives
that I had on hand too. 
Season well with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer 10 minutes.
Stir in sour cream, bacon and cheese.
Serve garnished with additional toppings if you'd like. 

Baked Potato Soup

12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups milk
4 large baking potatoes
6 green onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Scrub potatoes clean and pierce several times with a fork.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for about an hour.  Allow to cook, then peel and cut into cubes.  Set aside.  (Or do this step the day before and have cooled, cubed potatoes ready ahead.)  In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Gradually whisk in milk.  Whisk constantly until thickened.  Season well with salt and pepper.  (Soup will thicken very quickly once milk reaches the point of just boiling.)  Stir in potatoes and onions.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Mix in bacon, sour cream and cheese.  Continue cooking until cheese is melted.  Serve.  Garnish with additional cheese, bacon and chopped green onions if desired.

Prep Time:  Approximately 1 hour     Cook Time:     Approximately 30 minutes 

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