03. Baked Potato Soup

March 5, 2010 at 12:00 AM (Recipe) (, , , )

a steaming warm bowl of potato soup

All for you, Jenn. All for you.

So, I had never really thought about making baked potato soup. I like–nay, love–baked potatoes on their own! I don’t need to put them in a soup! That would be weird. Besides, every time I saw this particular soup on a menu somewhere, it had bacon in it, which I can’t eat (for those of you who don’t know–I don’t eat pork products of any kind) so I had kind of ruled out the soup entirely. Then, via Twitter:

BaileysBelle @Commiewench You know what you should look into making? Baked Potato Soup. Whenever I try, it’s far too thin 😦

Well. Okay! And I just so happened to have some TURKEY bacon in my fridge from this past weekend, so the bacon factor wouldn’t even faze me this time.

So there’s a ton of baked potato soup recipes online but if you’re looking for a thick, creamy soup, you have to know what to look for. The recipe I ended up picking used butter and flour, essentially making a simple roux–which is basically used to thicken sauces, soups, etc. So that’s what I decided to use.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs)*

    i'm not AR/OC at all, i swear. >.>

    Ramekins as prep bowls works awesomely well for me.

  • olive or vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 of a large onion, diced
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cups flour (unbleached, all-purpose as usual)
  • 6 cups milk (some people only cook with whole milk, I used 2% with excellent results and probably a slightly healthier soup, calorie-wise)
  • 3/4 cups shredder sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (I used a pepper mill with several different kinds of peppercorns in it for extra flavor), plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup sour cream**
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnish
  • bacon slices, cooked and crumbled***

*My russet potatoes were seriously huge so 3 taters already had me at over 2 1/2 lbs; if you’re using smaller russets or Yukon Golds you might need up to 5 potatoes. I strongly recommend getting a food scale for the kitchen (or just weigh the potatoes when you buy them).
**I didn’t have quite a full cup of sour cream–it didn’t make a difference.  One of the little 8oz containers, give or take a few teaspoons, is perfect for this recipe.
***The amount of bacon you use depends entirely on how many people you’re serving and how much you love bacon. I was only going to be serving two bowls of soup, and I’m not huge on bacon, so I only prepped two slices. For the full 8 servings this recipe makes, you’ll probably want 6 slices (or more if you’re seriously that into bacon).

Directions

First things first–making your baked potatoes.  My baked potato method, once I discovered* it, hasn’t failed me yet; that’s how I baked the potatoes for this soup.

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°, placing some foil on the lower rack (the upper rack should be in the middle of the oven).
  2. Wash (scrub if you want) your potatoes thoroughly and dry off. Poke with a fork 8 to 12 times to vent. I’ve never omitted this step so I’m not sure if the potato will explode or what, but seriously, it’s not hard, just poke the damn potato.
  3. Now the fun part–you might want to do this over some foil or a plate because it can get kind of messy. Rub the potatoes all over with oil (don’t bathe them in the oil, just make sure they’re nicely coated. Potatoes should be slick but not dripping), then sprinkle thoroughly with kosher salt.
  4. Place potatoes DIRECTLY on the upper rack of your preheated oven (the foil you put in earlier is to catch any drippings) and bake for an hour or so, until the potatoes feel very tender when pierced with a fork. If you don’t want to make soup you could just stop here and eat these baked potatoes with a ton of butter, salt, and sour cream. If you are, in fact, going to make the soup, wait until the potatoes have cooled off a bit, then peel and mash. It’s okay if the mash is a little bit coarse, you just don’t want any really huge chunks. Set aside.

Now for the soup itself.

  1. In a large pot (don’t skimp on the pot size here, this makes A LOT of soup), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, saute until soft. I was using a wooden spoon with a blunt edge and I waited until I could cut a little onion piece in half with my spoon, that’s about how soft I think they should be. Your kitchen will smell amazing at this point. Make sure your heat’s not too high or it will smell amazingly like something is burning.
  2. Add the flour to the onions and garlic and gradually add milk, whisking until blended. This step got a little bit tricky for me. I couldn’t measure out 6 cups of milk right away (my liquid measure holds 2 cups) and my whisk is really short so I also couldn’t…whisk as well as I wanted to. Not without burning myself. Next time I would use a long-handled whisk, and you really only have to worry about incorporating the first two cups of milk you pour in, otherwise your flour will end up lumping together instead of thickening the soup like it’s supposed to. Anyway. Cook over medium heat until mixture is a little bit thicker and bubbly (not simmering or boiling, but a few air bubbles here and there is what you’re going for at this stage).
  3. Add the mashed potatoes–stir so they’re fairly evenly distributed–then, add the salt, pepper, and cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Lower the heat almost completely.
  4. Stir in the green onions and the sour cream.** Cook over the low heat until heated through–do not let boil. The soup should be a very thick, creamy consistency, with the occasional chunk of potato.

To serve, ladle into a bowl and top with shredded cheddar, chopped green onions, and of course, BACON. Also feel free to add more pepper–my resident taste tester likes a lot of pepper on his soup and after I tried it that way I have to agree, it really does give it a little something extra. Enjoy!

look at that creamy potato-y goodness. oh god.

*By discovered, I mean…pretty much stole from Alton Brown.
**I didn’t feel like garnishing the soup that much so I just threw the bacon I had prepared in when I added the green onions and sour cream. It all depends on what you feel like doing and again, how much bacon you like. If you like a lot of bacon, I’d stick with garnishing because then you know exactly how much bacon there’s going to be in your bowl.

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8 Comments

  1. venu said,

    that looks fucking delicious well done

  2. hendyhendel said,

    I see you have topped this with sharp cheddar. That’s fine. You could spice it up by using Gruyere. You could even give it a thin cover, much like a French onion soup.

    What? I’m a turophile. I’m so much of a turophile, I know it’s called “turophile.”

    • Stacie said,

      that was josh’s portion, my portion actually wasn’t topped with ANYTHING. i’m not huge on garnishes. i think if i had gruyere to use i would prefer to use it in a place where the cheese flavor stood out more, like a 3-cheese mac’n’cheese or a really good quiche or something.

      • hendyhendel said,

        Understood. I like a cheesy soup. Cheesy anything, really. Except for like M&M’s or something.

      • hendyhendel said,

        FYZ (For your Z), I think you should check out my WordPress as well. You know. Just sayin’. This is me doing advertising that doesn’t involve “liking” my own posts on StumbleUpon.

      • Stacie said,

        ahh, i guess you didn’t see. i already added you to my links list!

  3. Jenn said,

    Yay! I feel loved ^_^ And it looks delicious, I will definitely try this out next cold day I get a hankering

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