My MOST favorite soup ever invented...
Seriously, you have no idea. I am about ready to drool just thinking about this soup. Which, according to the pre-schoolers I work with would be a sign that I'm an old grandma. I don't know why, but recently they've decided that when I hit the age of 41 (I'm 24 now) I'll be old and fall apart and most importantly I will not have control over my saliva. Unfortunate right? I thought so too.
Now I absolutely love Baked Potato soup in all it's marvelous forms. I probably have about 5 or 6 different recipes for this soup. This one is my favorite so far. I haven't played around with the other ones as much and this one just hits the spot whenever I'm craving it so I don't often venture away from this recipe. I've made it so much and changed it each time that I don't even think it is anywhere close to what the original recipe was. Therefore I feel pretty confident saying this is a creation of mine. Now whoever was the genius who decided, "Hey I like baked potatoes and I like soup, I'm going to put them together" deserves a prize in my opinion.
I think soups are fairly easy to make. In theory it's just throw stuff in a pot and let it mix together, right? Well, that's sort of the case. There's a bit more finesse with some soups than others. This one is pretty straight forward. Don't worry, I'll still go through all the steps! So let's just get right to this!
Here's what you need! ...a big pot to start...and then the ingredients
2 large russet potatoes
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups of milk (I use 1% but whatever milk you have will work just fine too)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt (Kosher salt if possible)
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried minced white onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
Some hot sauce
About a cup of Cheddar Cheese (maybe more if you like cheese a lot like I do!)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 or 4 green onions thinly sliced/chopped
More cheddar cheese
So, by 1 teaspoon or 1/2 teaspoon of the spices...I'm lying. I usually start out with about that much. I like my soup to have a lot of flavor. So we'll start off with the smaller amounts and work our way up to whatever flavor level you would like. And OK I know it looks like a lot, but trust me the spices are what make it so deliciously tantalizingly amazing.
First things first, gotta bake those potatoes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. I usually put some aluminum foil on my baking sheet so I don't have to bother cleaning it later. Ahhh laziness.
Puncture the potatoes several times with a fork so they don't explode in the oven. I hate when they explode. It's a mess and then you've wasted two perfectly good potatoes.
Pop them in the oven for about an hour. Here's what you do. Put them in for an hour, then check them. If they're like my potatoes they won't be done yet. So you'll put them in for another 15-20 minutes after the fact. So when they're done pull them out of the oven, turn off your oven, and let them cool completely. So I like my potato chunks in my soup to be soft, like melt in you mouth soft. So sometimes I let the potatoes cool a bit, probably 20 minutes or so. Then re-check them to see if they're as soft as I want them to be. If they're not I pop them in the microwave for about 2 minutes on high and then they're definitely fully baked and soft enough to go into my soup. NOW you let them cool COMPLETELY.
**Side note: you can also just cook the potatoes in the microwave and skip the oven all together if you don't have the hour or so to cook them in the oven. No worries it'll be a great soup anyways!**
Once they're cooled completely, peel them and chop them up into bite-sized chunks. This is always a messy job for me because I totally don't let them cool completely. I'm just too impatient and often end up burning my fingers a bit in the process.
Now it's time to start on the good stuff!
In a large pot, saucepan, saute pan, whatever you want to cook your soup in...anyways in a large pot you're going to melt the butter on a MEDIUM HEAT. Melt it, don't burn it or let it boil away. Then you're going to stir in the flour like so...
Keep stirring the butter and flour until it's smooth and has formed the roux, the base for the soup. The roux is key to any soup or sauce really. Get that roux going and then add in some other stuff. So next is to add the first round of spices. So add in some white and black pepper, garlic and onion powder, dried minced onion, and a bit of chili powder. HOLD OFF ON THE DILL FOR NOW.
Again make sure your roux is nice and smooth and now contains some of the spices for the soup. Next up is to add in the milk. So pour it in, all while still stirring the soup. You want the milk to mix in with the roux as your adding it in, not just after. Don't know why, but it helps.
Once the milk is all poured in, add in the heavy cream and stir it all up. Now is the time to taste, see if you want more spices. Taste, taste, taste is important with this soup. I think it's why mine changes slightly every time I make it. Add in some hot sauce here if you want. And let it start to simmer together.
Looks delicious already doesn't it? So the next step is to bring the soup to a boil. It takes a few minutes so keep tasting and adjusting the spices as you please. This is where I added in my dill weed. I did this the last time I made the soup, just looking at my spices I was like, "hey I like dill, let's put some of that in there!" And it worked!
BOOM! Dill weed added! Continue to bring the soup to a boil. Once it is at a boil, cook and stir it for a couple of minutes until it thickens up to your liking. If you notice it's getting too thick add in a bit more milk or heavy cream that usually helps mine thin out a bit.
Here it is, thickened up and ready for the next step. Can you guess what it is? Well it's possibly more spices since you're tasting this delicious creation right now and going, "hmmm I like this" or "hmmm I think it needs a touch more garlic or onion or chili powder...maybe some more pepper or dill?" After that it's time for...
CHEESE!!!! Oh delicious, delicious cheese! Sprinkle about a cup, I honestly don't know I don't measure anything for this soup completely. It's all based on taste and instinct. A cup sounds about right though. More or less depending on how you feel. Remember it's your soup, make it how you want. Stir the cheese in so it melts together with the soup, taste again, then move onto the next step.
Remove the soup from the heat. Just move the pot/pan/dish whatever you're using over to the other side of the oven and put the burner you were using from medium heat to low heat. Whisk in the sour cream. Yes, whisk. I use a whisk for this soup from start to finish. It just works really well for getting it all mixed and melted together. Once the sour cream is in you can return your pot to the element/burner you were using, which is now on a low heat setting.
Add in the green onions. Oh my god I love green onions. I try to find a way to get them into so many dishes that I make. I don't know why, but I find them so freaken delicious! So green onions are in...
Time for the bacon!!! As much as I love green onions, I probably love bacon more. It's bacon. You cannot go wrong with bacon. So add as much or as little into the soup as you want. Maybe add some more cheese in now too? Sure why the hell not!? More cheese, more bacon, more spices? Taste, taste, taste!!
Finally, the time has come to add in those glorious potatoes...and more bacon/cheese :) Gently, very gently stir in the potatoes. OK you might not want to use a whisk for the potatoes. Use a spoon. Say goodbye and thank you to the whisk as you place it in the sink to be washed and say hello to the spoon. Once the potatoes are all mixed in, cover the pot/pan/dish up and keep it on the stove on a low setting for about 10 minutes. Why? So the potatoes can heat and the spices and flavors can develop even more in the soup. I know, 10 minutes is a long time to wait for this soup. Especially when you're smelling it first hand. Totally worth it though.
Garnish it with some more bacon and cheese and devour it!!
Store the extra...if any in the fridge and reheat when you want more. Add a bit of milk in when you reheat it because it thickens up in the fridge. Also, this recipe can easily be doubled to serve a large group of people.
One last picture of the soup...and my dog staring at the floor in hopes of me dropping it.
Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!
'Til Next Time!!