Grab your spoons, folks. Soup season is upon us. But rather than stroll our way into the world of broths and stocks, I’ve decided we might as well start with a sprint toward the comfort food finish line. And nothing screams, “I feel comforted!” quite like a big bowl of Loaded Baked Potato Soup, crispy bacon, sour cream, cheddar cheese and all.
This easy potato soup was inspired by a similar recipe my mom used to make during the harsh San Diego winters. In those days—the days of fast metabolisms and 2-hour lacrosse practices—I’d pile my bowl so full of toppings that the soup was but a shallow pond surrounding my pork fat and cheddar cheese island.
I’ve since shifted strategies to better appreciate the velvety smoothness of the underlying potato purée, the real star of the dish. All it takes is a blender to transport you from gritty root vegetable to silky potato soup, which brings me to the latest and greatest (and my new favorite) appliance, the KitchenAid Pro Line Series 5-Speed Cordless Hand Blender.
Isn’t she a thing of beauty? Don’t let her sleekness deceive you. This tool will transform your kitchen into a blending, chopping, whisking, shredding, frothing, pureeing powerhouse. And I’ve partnered with the generous team at KitchenAid to give one lucky reader their very own cordless hand blender.
What Just a Taste recipe are you most looking forward to making this fall?
UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Crystal (comment #185)!
One winner will be selected via Random.org and announced on Wednesday, September 25, 2013. This giveaway closes on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 12 p.m. EST and is open to U.S. participants only. The winner will be contacted via email, so please include a valid email address in the email address entry box.
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Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated monetarily for this post. I received a complimentary KitchenAid cordless hand blender in conjunction with this giveaway.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 35 min
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 small Russett potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Sliced scallions, for garnish
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until all the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and drain off all but 1/4 cup of the drippings.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and then add the celery and onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium and then add the cubed potatoes, stirring to combine. Cook the potatoes for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the chicken stock. (The chicken stock should just cover the potatoes, so depending on your pot, you may have to add more stock.) Bring the soup to a simmer then cover the pot and cook the soup for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
In a separate medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour to make a roux. Stir the roux constantly for 1 to 2 minutes until it's pale golden then whisk in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it, stirring constantly, until it's thickened slightly. (It should be the consistency of gravy.) Whisk the milk mixture into the potato mixture and cook the soup for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
Remove the soup from the heat. Transfer 1/3 of the soup to a medium bowl. Using a hand blender, purée the soup that's remaining in the pot until it's smooth. (See Kelly's Notes.) Return the reserved 1/3 of the soup to the pot, stirring to combine.
Stir in the heavy cream and season the soup with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, top each bowl of soup with the cooked bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and scallions.
If you don't have a hand blender, you can purée the soup in batches in a blender. Leave 1/3 of the soup in the pot and purée the rest in the blender then continue with the recipe as directed.
I prefer seasoning my soups at the end to avoid over-salting them. That being said, potatoes need a hearty amount of salt, so don't be afraid to start with a teaspoon of salt and at least a few turns of fresh black pepper and work your way up based on your personal preferences.
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.