Okay. Raise your hand if you remember the world before blogs. I do. At least I remember the time when I had no idea what a “blog” was. A few of my friends started writing them and I thought it was weird. And cool. At the same time. And then I discovered food blogs. Wha?? People take pictures of their food? And put it on the internet? A whole new world of wasting time on the internet was opened up to me. I remember when my new-ish friend Kate started a personal family blog and one of the very first things she posted was a recipe for Baked Potato Soup. She had step by step pictures of all the ingredients and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It wasn’t long after that when she said to me, “Hey, we should start a blog together about recipes!” And the rest is history.
I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years and it’s one of our family favorites. The weather here in Boise has gone from scorching summer to perfectly pleasant fall overnight and I’m sooo happy about it! I finally busted out all of my fall decorations and decided it’s time for soup! (Speaking of fall, those of you who read our blog through email or google reader, you should come on over to the actual site. We’ve added lots of our favorite fall recipes in our side-bar so come on over to browse!)
The great thing is that this soup is rich and creamy and filling, but not horribly bad for you when it comes to calories. We balance out the use of cheese and bacon with skim milk and low-fat sour cream. You start with just a couple pats of butter
and toss it in a pan with some garlic. Butter and garlic cooking on the stove is one of the best smells in the world, in case you didn’t know. Someone should make a candle for that.
Then toss in some flour and low-fat or skim milk
When the soup thickens up, in goes potatoes. You can use leftover baked potatoes, or bake them before you make the soup, or use my trick- the microwave!
then add cheese and salt and pepper. Extra sharp cheddar adds great flavor, but regular plain ol’ mild cheddar works great too. One tip I have though, is to grate your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese doesn’t work as well in things like this because it doesn’t melt as well.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in a little low-fat sour cream, some green onions, and bacon. Mmm bacon. Someone should make me a candle of that too.
To serve, top it off with some extra cheese, bacon, onions, and sour cream. And a big chunk of crusty bread isn’t bad either!
Comfort in a bowl I tell ya…
Baked Potato Soup
3 Tbs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C flour
4 1/2 C milk (low fat works great)
1 14oz can chicken broth
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) baked*
2 C grated cheddar (or sharp cheddar) cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C sour cream (low fat is fine), divided
1/2 C chopped green onions, divided
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
*don’t have time to bake potatoes in the oven? Just pierce them with a fork a few times and then pop them in the microwave. Cook in 5 minute intervals until a knife easily pierces through them. It usually takes 5-10 minutes. To bake in the oven, pierce each potato with a fork and place directly on oven rack. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.
Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add flour to pan. Slowly add milk a little at a time while whisking constantly to eliminate lumps. Whisk until smooth and then add chicken broth. (Now, if you get to this point and don’t have a smooth liquid. Stop! Save your soup by popping the mixture in the blender, then continue.) Bring soup just to a simmer and heat until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Once soup is thickened, turn heat down to medium-low. Cut potatoes in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out potato flesh into the pot. Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, breaking up large clumps. Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in 3/4 C sour cream, 1/4 C green onions, and 4 strips of the crumbled bacon. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with each serving with the remaining sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon.
-Sara and Kate