Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

     Well, 2013 is in the records and 2014 is well underway. Sorry for our lack of activity lately. If you’ve been paying attention, it’s been about a month since we’ve done a post. I’m sure you’ll forgive me. Holidays can be quite a busy time and we spent quite a bit of it out of town. Almost a whole week at the ranch with no internet connection which was quite nice, truth be told.

     If you’ve noticed, we’re not one of those blogs that puts out a new recipe every day. Or a set number per week. Or even on some kind of schedule. This isn’t out job, it’s just a hobby. We’re not looking to quit our jobs and go pro. Or get paid. Or write a book. We just do it for the fun of it. And if that means we get in a slump and don’t feel like cooking, or go back and revisit old classics for a while and have nothing new post, so be it. I’m just explaining why sometimes you’ll see long breaks here between posts. More power to those who can crank out recipes on a set schedule, but for me, I’m just going to take my time and only post quality recipes that we firmly believe in. Either that we’ve tried time and time again, tweaked to get just right or sometimes lucked out and nailed on the first try. Anyhow, enough rambling on.

Nothing like a bowl of soup to warm the soul.

Nothing like a bowl of soup to warm the soul.

     There are tons of recipes out there for Baked Potato Soup, but I thought I would go ahead and share ours along with a few tricks we like to use.

Ingredients

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 10-12 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Coarse Kosher salt and WHITE pepper
  • light sour cream
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Wash the potatoes and then pierce each potato a few times on each side with a fork. Rub with olive oil or canola oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Place the potatoes directly on the middle rack of the oven. Cook for about one hour or until the internal temperature has reached 200F. Remove from oven, set aside and allow to cool.
  3. Slice the bacon into lardons or thin strips. Cook the bacon in a large cast iron skillet (shouldn’t bacon always be cooked in cast iron?) or a large pot over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon but reserve the drippings. If you used a CI skillet, bonus points to you, but now you need to transfer the drippings to a large pot.
  4. Add the flour to the drippings and stir until combined, cooking for about 1 minute. While continuously whisking, slowly stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until thickened while stirring occasionally.
  5. Slice open the potatoes and using a spoon, scoop out the pulp and add it to the pot. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency. Some people like it more chunky than others, I’ll let you decide how creamy or chunky you want yours.
  6. Stir in a little over half of the bacon (leaving the rest for garnish), one cup of the cheese and season with salt and white pepper. We find that 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of white pepper was just about right for us, but adjust to your own palette. Stir until the cheese has melted and remove from heat.
  7. Ladle the baked potato soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining bacon, cheese and chopped green onions.
Serve with warm, thick crusty bread.

Serve with warm, thick crusty bread.

     This is one pretty darn tasty baked potato soup, if I do say so myself. You have all the flavors of a baked potato. Bacon. Cheese. Green onions. Sour cream. But in a soup form. What’s not to like? I hear some people can be picky about the consistency of their baked potato soup. Some like it chunky, some like it creamy. My only advice is you are in control of that. So if you like it creamy, mash until your heart’s content. Or use an immersion blender if you have one. More in the chunky camp, don’t mash it quite as much. You control your own destiny…or at least this soup.

     I know what you are probably thinking, “What’s with all the soups and stuff lately? Where’s all the grilled or smoked food?” Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe partially because I got sick early this year and the new lab we moved into is freezing, but for some reason, I have not been able to get warm lately and the thought of going outside and freezing my rear off has not been that appealing.  Maybe I’ve just been “grilled out” lately and besides cooking old standbys, I just haven’t come up with anything interesting to cook on the Egg lately. Or maybe its just that with it being winter and it getting dark so early and our poor patio lighting, I just haven’t felt like cooking outside in the dark. I will promise to do my best to grill something blog worthy this week on the Egg…if the weather cooperates. And I get over this nasty cold I have…

Tips

  1. Line the rack below your potatoes to catch the oil dripping off the potatoes for easier cleanup.
  2. Freeze bacon for 15 minutes to make slicing into lardons easier.
  3. Use white pepper instead of black pepper. It’s just an aesthetic thing, but who wants to see black flecks in their white soup?
  4. Save the skins to make potato skins later as an appetizer. They can be frozen for later as well. 4 potatoes will result in 16 potato skins.
  5. For the perfect baked potato, cook until the IT temp is 212F. For this soup, 200F will be fine.
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