Thanksgiving break is only three weeks away! I’m so excited to spend the week at my grandparents’ farm, relaxing and cooking and finishing my law school apps. I haven’t been posting the last couple of weeks because of academic craziness, but I actually have been cooking! Meal highlights have included pulled pork, Italian beef, and lasagna. And maybe someday I’ll actually post about them. Instead, here’s the awesome Baked Potato Soup I made earlier this week.
I was able to prep it ahead by baking the potatoes Monday night and chopping them up after they’d cooled. I left the skins on and just scrubbed them really well. I also cooked the bacon, garlic, and onions beforehand. Then when I got home from class late on Tuesday, I just had to make the roux and soup and throw everything else in! You could make all of this at once, or go the more traditional route and boil the potatoes, but I really liked this method, especially because it was so hands-off. And the soup tasted great, it was so warm and comforting, but the pepper and sharp cheddar meant it was anything but bland. Potato soup isn’t much of a looker, but it sure makes up for it with taste!
After baking (or microwaving) your potatoes and letting them cool, chop them into bite-sized pieces.
Cook your bacon until crispy, if you’re using it. Chop your onion and garlic and cook them, preferably in the fat that just rendered from your bacon. Throw everything into a container and put it in the fridge overnight if you’re prepping this in advance, or else just keep going.
Melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then add an equal amount of flour. Whisk it together, and cook until the flour loses its raw smell.
Heat some or all of your chicken broth in the microwave (I only heated 2 cups). Slowly add it to the roux, whisking to make sure there are no lumps. Add the remainder of the broth. Put your potatoes, onions, garlic, and whatever else you’re using into the pan. Add pepper to taste. I wouldn’t recommend adding salt until the very end, because the cheese will probably add quite a bit as well.
I also added about 2/3 of an eight-ounce package of ham cubes. Make sure you drain the extra water out first! Cover the pan and bring it to a low boil for about 10 minutes.
Add about two cups of milk. Bring the soup back to a low boil for 5-10 minutes.
Add about one cup of shredded cheese to the soup slowly, stirring until it melts. You can use whatever cheese you want, I chose sharp cheddar. Boil for several minutes, until the soup reaches the desired consistency. If you’re impatient like me, you can mix about one tablespoon of cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water and add that to the soup to thicken it up.
And voila, it’s soup!
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
very much adapted from Honey and Jam
4 good-sized potatoes, baked and cut up
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled.
2/3 c. diced ham, drained of excess liquid
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheese, plus more for topping
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Bake the potatoes at 400 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes. Chop into bite-sized pieces once cool.
2. Cook the bacon. Set it to the side to cool, drain excess fat from the pan, and cook the onions and garlic in the pan over medium low heat, until just soft (but not caramelized!).
3. Put the potatoes, bacon, onions and garlic in a container in the refrigerator, or use them immediately.
4. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large stockpot. Once it’s melted, add the flour and whisk well. Cook the roux until the flour no longer smells raw.
5. Heat some or all of the chicken broth in the microwave. Slowly add the broth to the roux, whisking to make sure no lumps form. Add the potatoes, bacon, onions, garlic, and ham to the pot. Bring to a low boil for about 10 minutes.
6. Add the milk to the pot, and bring back to a boil for 5-10 minutes.
7. Add the cheese to the pot slowly, and mix until it melts. Bring the soup back to a boil, and cook it until it is thickened to the consistency you want. If it takes too long, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of cold water and add that to the soup. Serve with cheese and maybe green onions on top.