Soup’s On Sundays / Loaded Baked Potato Soup

March 20, 2011

This was my first time making a loaded baked potato soup & also the first cream-based soup I’ve attempted. And let me tell you, I’ll absolutely be cataloging this in my recipe book. My favorite part? The garnishes. They add texture, flavor and actually elevate the dish instead of functioning purely as decoration. What you’ll end up with is a thick and chunky soup full of all the bold flavors you’d expect from a loaded baked potato. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:
10 Slices Bacon (chopped)
6 medium Russet Potatoes (scrubbed and diced into 3/4 inch cubes)
1 large Onion (chopped)
2 medium Garlic Cloves (minced to about 2 teaspoons)
2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
4 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
1.5 cups Heavy Cream
1 sprig fresh Thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 pound shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
1 cup Sour Cream (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
3 Scallions or Green Onion (sliced thin)
Salt and Pepper

Prep Time: ~10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Servings: 10-12

Kitchen Utensils:
Large Soup Pot
Cutting Board
Knife
Peeler (optional)
Blender
Large Spoon w/ Holes
Plate
Napkin/Paper Towels

Before we jump into the bacon, I will say that I’m not the fastest peeler, so I got an early start removing the potato peels in wide strips (hold onto these). About halfway through, I threw the bacon in the large soup pot over medium-high heat. You’ll want to turn it occasionally with a fork until it has crisped up.

Finishing up the remainder of the potatoes while the bacon was cooking, I continued to cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes. I then removed the bacon from the soup pot and transferred it to a plate lined with paper towels to soak in the additional grease. Now what you should be looking at is a soup pot with lots of hot bacon grease in the bottom – and this is exactly what you want. Throw the reserved potato peels into the grease and let them crisp up. When they’re finished, add them to the plate with the bacon to cool and blot with another paper towel.

Next, add the chopped onion to the remaining fat in the pot and cook until golden. Add the garlic, stir in the flour and mix well for about a minute. This is the part where it actually turns into a soup:
While whisking constantly, gradually add the chicken stock and cream to the pot. Continue whisking for a minute or two and then add the thyme (I used dried thyme and it worked great) and potatoes. Bump the heat up to high, add about 2-3 tbsps of salt (depending on what you like) and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender. [Note: If you used a thyme sprig, it’s time to remove it from the pot]

Now for the texture… I prefer my cream-based coups to be on the thicker side with chunks of potato throughout to break up each bite. That being said, I used the large spoon with holes to transfer about 5 scoops of the potatoes into the blender. After pureeing, I added them back into the soup immediately. This is a great way for each cook to achieve their personal desired consistency and monitor it along the way. If you want a smooth soup, puree everything in the pot – and you may want to do it in batches.

Alright, last step! I hope you’ve been tasting the soup along the way, make sure your salt level is where you want it and the consistency is exactly what you’re looking for. Remove the pot from heat, and stir in the cheese until completely melted, then add the sour cream. While you’re giving it a second to absorb the flavors, chop up the bacon into little pieces, and you may want to do the same with the potato peels. Finally, serve garnished with potato skins, reserved bacon and scallions – you can also garnish with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Loaded baked potato soup garnished with potato skins, bacon and green onion.

This turned out to be a hearty, filling soup that really plays well to cooler weather. Leftovers the next day were just as satisfying, despite the fact that the potato skins garnish did lose a bit of its crunch. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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~ by wintersm on March 22, 2011.

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