Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

Oh, what a bad blogger I have been.    My last blog was over 2 weeks ago!! My only excuse is the Christmas rush, both at work and at home.  Both seem to be under control at the moment though, and I feel like I can breathe again, if only for a day or two.  My Christmas cards(the other thing that I enjoy almost as much as cooking, making handmade greeting cards, 50 in all this season, all different...what was I thinking????) are all made and sent, my house is pretty much ready for Christmas, the shopping is about 80% done, and I actually have a day off from work tomorrow.  Halleluiah! My goal for my day off is to not leave my house for anything. What are the odds that I will actually achieve my goal??
 The good thing about loving to cook is that during these crazy busy times, I always make time to cook.  Take out food seems like a cop out to me, when there are so many yummy things that can be made in just as much time as it takes to dial the phone and wait for the delivery guy.  Call me crazy, but I would rather spend that 45 minutes cooking, than timing the pizza guy to see if my order is free!  I am such a food nerd that I always compare what is delivered to what I could have made, and how much better it would have been. (now you really can call me crazy!!) Now my camera is full of pictures just waiting to be blogged about.  All I need now are a few spare hours to just sit and type.  Cross your fingers for me, will you?
So, here I sit, at my laptop, drinking a very enjoyable glass of red wine, trying to decide what to blog about tonight.  After seeing the boys devour the baked potato soup that I made for supper, I figured it was a recipe worth sharing.  Apparently a lot of restaurants have a soup like this on their menu, but I have never ordered it.  After having this though, I just might!  I baked a bunch of extra  red potatoes the other night when I was making dinner, figuring I would slice them up and pan fry them in a bit of butter, kind of like really thick potato chips.  But, somewhere in the back of my wee food addled little brain, I remember reading this recipe and wanting to make it one day.  So, here it is!  I didn’t really plan on blogging it, so the picture part is a wee bit sparse,please forgive me! The soup makes up for it, I promise.  It goes together quickly, and easily. Next time you have extra space in your oven, bake some extra potatoes, this soup is worth it...your stomach will thank you!  
The original recipe uses regular bacon, but being as we don't eat pork, I substituted some fantastic turkey bacon that Shawn, my veggie guy brought me from the market.  I also lightened up the recipe a lot, cutting out the sour cream, some of the butter, and a lot of the cheese. Not having ever had this in a restaurant, I wasn’t sure how much of a difference it would make, but the flavour was very good. It is very thick, creamy and satisfying, great for a cold winter day

Baked Potato Soup (Original recipe here)

8 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon)
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk (feel free to increase stock and decrease milk if you like)
1 cup chicken stock
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook bacon and chopped green onions in a large, deep skillet, over medium heat until browned. Drain, crumble, and set aside.

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk and stock, whisking constantly until it thickens up. Stir in diced potatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to break up some of the chunks if desired.  (You can blend till smooth if you prefer your soup to have no chunks at all)

Top each bowl with the crumbled bacon, onions and cheese.  A dollop of sour cream would probably be good on top as well!

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