It has been cold and dreary the past week or two here in Southeastern Virginia with a few days of sunshine mixed in. Cold, and damp always lend themselves to soup in my mind. Soup or stew. So I polled the boys to see what kind of sop they wanted me to make. What I heard was a resounding call for “Your awesome potato soup Mom.” (Editor’s note, I threw in the awesome part, but they did ask for the potato soup).
I found this recipe years ago, and to be honest I can’t remember where I found it. Over the years I have modified it a bit (you all know I NEVER) do that to make it more “mine”. I have come across many recipes that call for the potatoes to be cooked in the microwave, but I feel to get that truly authentic “baked potato” taste you really have to bake the potatoes in the oven. So you have to plan ahead s you can bake the potatoes for an hour before assembling the soup. I usually bake the potatoes in the oven in the morning so the potatoes have time to cool and “re-solidify” if you will.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
1 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup onion, diced
5 large Russet potatoes
3 c. chicken stock
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup light sour cream
1. Poke holes in the potatoes and cook in a 400 degree oven for 50-60 minutes until soft. Put aside to cool.
2 In a large stock pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain and set aside. Drain all but 1 tbsp of bacon grease from the pot. Cook the onions in the remaining bacon grease for about 5 minutes, until tender.
3. Add chicken stock to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 10 minutes.
4. While the stock and onions are simmering, peel the potatoes and cut into bite sized cubes. Add them to the stock and let them cook about 5 minutes to get nice and hot. With a slotted spoon, remove a few scoops of potatoes. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.
3. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Slowly stir in to stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer. Stir mashed potatoes back into pot.
4. Add 1/2 c. shredded cheese, 1/2 of the bacon and the sour cream to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
5. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and have the following garnishes available: Shredded cheese, sour cream, bacon and chives.
Since I have three hungry teenaged boys, I always double this recipe so it lasts for two dinners. (Sometimes it only lasts for one). Adjusting the amount of bacon, cheese, and sour cream can reduce the calories of this soup.