You can’t handle the soup!
Last night I was thinking, what would make a really good dinner? Something warming, tasty, simple, and filling without being too much. I decided soup. I ran down a few choices for Amy, lentil, potato or black bean.(I pretty much had everything on hand for any of them.) She picked potato. I delivered what is probably her new favorite soup! Loaded baked potato soup. It is very simple, and very satisfying. We both have some leftovers, and she’s even got some to run to her mom.
So, what do you need? I can’t really give you quantities on a lot of this, because it wasn’t measured.
Potatoes, I had seven, peel them, and cut them into small-ish pieces
bacon, 2 slices, split lengthwise, and then cut into small pieces
1 red onion diced, you could use a white onion here
1 TBSP vegetable oil
chicken broth and water
2 bay leaves
cheddar cheese, I used about 4 ounces
heavy cream (whole milk would work too, or both which is what we had)
First, in a large pot heat the oil over medium heat, and add the bacon. You’re looking to render the bacon, so you want to brown it, and cook down a large percentage of the fat. This will give you a nice flavor. Once the bacon is browned, add the onion, a little salt, and cook until the onion is translucent. Next add the potatoes, broth, water, bay leaves, and bring up to a boil. I used roughly 50% broth. Basically what I want to do is to cover everything, but that is it. Once you have a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover it, and let it go for about 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t need to cook the potatoes until they are mush, basically you want them to be tender.Once the potatoes are tender turn off the heat. You have a few options at this point. You could strain the soup, reserve the liquid and process the solids in a food processor, puree with a hand blender, puree in a blender, or use a potato masher. However you do it you want to end up with a smooth soup. I used a potato masher, and really liked the results. It was a bit more rustic than a blender would have turned out, but it was also a lot less mess, and hassle. You may also want to fish out the bay leaves at this point. They aren’t poisonous, but they are not a lot of fun to eat.
Once the pureeing is done, return everything to the pot, and turn the heat back on. You’re going to finish the soup. Start by adding the cream. I add it until I get a nice color, and flavor from it. Next add the cheese. How much is kind of up to you, and how much you like cheese with your potatoes! Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning with salt, and white pepper. Bring the soup up to a boil, and serve. That is really all there is to it. You could easily adapt this to be a vegetarian soup by dropping the bacon, and using veggie broth or all water, and since the potatoes do all of the thickening this soup will ever need the gluten-free situation is well in hand.Bowl it up, and enjoy! Also, keep in mind if you have leftover potatoes that you want to use up, this is a perfect place for them! In that case, all you have to do is get them hot, and soften up a bit. That will save you some time. This soup is very easy and perfect for dinner on a cold night! OK, maybe you CAN handle the soup!