26 November 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Baked Potato Soup

In my opinion, the stuffed baked potato is the single best invention ever created.

Ever. In the history of the world.

This is not an understatement.

Potatoes are plentiful, easy to cook and keep forever. And what other food is such a perfect, nutritious vehicle for so many other delicious foods? Bacon, sour cream, green onions, cheddar cheese, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, chili, eggs, black beans and corn.... I could literally go on and on.

So combining my love of baked potatoes with my love of soup is a natural pairing (my obsession with one-pot recipes and meals-in-a-bowl being well documented by now, I think.) This soup is simple, flavourful and decently healthy for you. It's also the perfect antidote to a cold winter night.


BAKED POTATO SOUP
Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 1.5 hours + 40 minutes | Serves: 8-10
   
Ingredients:
  • 12 large baking potatoes (I use Russet, as big as I can find 'em)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 large Spanish onions, finely diced
  • 2 heaping tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 low sodium chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups 18% table cream
  • 6-8 cups skim milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 6 slices bacon
  • green onions
  • cheddar cheese
    
Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
       
  2. Give the potatoes a little scrub to shake off the dirt, then it's time to get stabby. With a sharp kitchen knife, make three (3) small slits in each side of each potato. Place potatoes directly on oven racks, leaving a little space between neighbours to allow air/heat to circulate.
    I usually put two rows of 3 on each rack.
       
  3. Bake for 1.5 hours or until potatoes are tender to a fork inserted into the middle. Remove from oven and allow to cool on counter for 30-60 minutes.
       
  4. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and bay leaves; sauté until onions are tender and translucent.
      
  5. Meanwhile, cut potatoes in half (wear oven mitts for this; they'll still be piping hot.) Using a large soup spoon, scoop the potato "meat" from the skins into a large bowl. Discard the husks.
      
  6. To the onion pot, add chicken bouillon cubes and 1 cup skim milk. Stir until bouillon is fully dissolved. Add salt and pepper.
       
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add potato to the pot -- all of it. Stir to mix potato and onion together, then begin adding milk. Start with the cream, then the remaining milk.
    I prefer a thick soup, but you can adjust the consistency to your preference. The "ideal" is loose and creamy, but not thin or runny.
      
  8. Allow the soup to simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. While soup is cooking, fry up the bacon until crispy. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Crumble.
      
  9. Garnish each heat and steamy bowl of soup with fresh bacon bits, chopped green onion and grated cheddar cheese (or substitute your favourite toppings -- go ahead and personalize it!) 

Side note: this soup doesn't freeze well at all. Don't bother to try. Also, some of the liquid will evaporate when refrigerated, so you'll want to add a little milk when reheating to loosen it up.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as our family does; it's one of our favourites.

NOTES | KID-FRIENDLY, GLUTEN FREE, EASY, ONE-POT-WONDER


Other Foodie Tuesday soups you might like: