Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Baked Potato Soup with Cheese and Bacon

Baked Potato Soup by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

There are a few recipes that every cook should have in her hip pocket, so to speak, recipes like lemon pepper roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, perfect brownies. The kinds of belly-filling foods that are greeted with relief from the kids and spousal unit (no weird vegetables tonight!). Baked potato soup is just such a recipe - creamy and cheesy, loaded with potato chunks and bacon pieces.

Here in Georgia, we've had days that feel like summer, but the nights are still cool - tonight we may get a touch of frost. There are doubtless a few rough and raw days ahead where a warming bowl of potato soup will be welcome.

I've made this recipe for years - it came from a trusty Junior League cookbook. The original was quite dairy-rich. I took away some of the milk, replacing it with a pantry staple, low-sodium chicken broth in the 32-ounce aseptic package. That stuff is cooking gold - I use it in gravy and soups and to season vegetables. I also save fat grams by lightening the soup with plain non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream, The resulting soup is still not diet food, but you can have a slightly larger portion than usual.

Just a little forethought is required when making this soup - the day before, place the potatoes in the oven while you're cooking something else - a roast or a casserole.

Baked Potato Soup with Cheddar and Bacon

4 Russet potatoes, baked, peeled and cubed

2/3 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 (32-oz) package low salt chicken broth

2 cups milk

2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded

4 strips bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

4 ounces sour cream or non-fat yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add chicken broth slowly, whisking until smooth. Add milk and continue stirring. Add half of cheese, pour remaining amount in a bowl for garnish. Add cubed baked potatoes.

2. Just before serving, stir in sour cream or yogurt. Add pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with bacon and remaining cheese. Finely chopped green onions or chives would make lovely garnishes. I use skim milk and light sour cream and reduced fat cheese in this and it still as rich as you'd ever want it.

Text and images copyright 2011.


Anonymous said...

We are experiencing our very last cool nights and tonight I made lentil soup for, what I anticipate, will be the last time until fall. Maybe I'll be able to get in some baked potato soup under the wire!

Bell :)

My Man's Belly said...

I am so on a soup bender right now and this looks delicious! I'm glad I didn't see it earlier today because I would have had to make it and I probably wouldn't have gotten to eat until midnight. I didn't even get to sit down until 9 tonight.

Lynn Coulter said...

oh my my...this looks like tonight's dinner. love soup on these cold winter days!

Lucy Mercer said...

Give it a try and let me know what you think, Lynn!