Last week I mentioned that I'd have a delicious, hearty winter soup recipe for you. Well, I'm back and here it is! I made this baked potato soup a couple weeks ago on a cooooold weekday night, and it really hit the spot. I was inspired to make this recipe by my latest magazine issue of Cooking Light, which had a recipe for a "cheesy potato soup" in it. However, when I looked up reviews of that particular recipe online, the reviews were only mediocre. So I looked around for other potato soup options (I was really craving a potato soup for some reason and couldn't get the idea of making one out of my head!) and luckily stumbled upon this one that I ended up trying and loving.
The original recipe makes enough for 8 servings. I halved the recipe (more or less, it was probably more like I "5/8'd" the recipe ;)). So when I made this I had 4 or 5 servings. I have written the original recipe below for 8 servings. Feel free to alter it as you wish!
-4 baking potatoes (about 2 and 1/2 lbs.)
-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
-6 cups 2% milk (I used 1%)
-1 cup reduced-fat shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
-1 cup reduced fat sour cream
-3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
-6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake at 400 for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes and coarsely mash.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven (or just a large, deep saucepan - whatever you have!); gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of the cheese, salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Ladle 1 and 1/2 cups soup into each bowl. Sprinkle each serving with desired amount of cheese, onions, and bacon (the recipe says 1 and 1/2 tsp. cheese, 1 and 1/2 tsp. onion, and 1 Tbsp. bacon). Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.
I used this Whole Foods brand of reduced sodium bacon. Use whatever your favorite kind is! Also, of note, I only added 1/4 tsp. of salt to the recipe. For 8 servings, the recipe calls for 1 tsp. of salt, which seemed like a lot to me, and halving the recipe means I should have added 1/2 tsp. salt, which still seemed like a lot. With soups, I tend to be conservative when it comes to adding salt to the actual recipe. I think it's better just to let each person who's eating the soup to add their own salt, if they want, to their individual bowl! :)
Mike and I enjoyed this soup with some toasted Whole Foods ciabatta bread. Simple and delicious.
Mmmmm, extra sharp cheddar. It makes everything better!
I really really liked this soup. It was slightly time-consuming to make, thanks to the need to bake the potatoes and cook the bacon. All in all though, it was not difficult and was totally worth any time and effort you put in to make it. And cream/milk based soups tend not to freeze very well, which is one reason I chose not to make the full recipe....if I had made the soup and had a lot leftover, I would have felt the need to either eat most of it within a few days or freeze the rest, and I didn't really want to do either. Also, I didn't want to use up 6 cups of milk for one soup! That's about all I had in my fridge when I made this recipe, so it was a better choice for me to halve the recipe and still have milk in the fridge for other uses.
And on a completely different note, isn't this a gorgeous sunset? This was a pic I took outside my apartment last week. Love those beautiful colors!!
And on yet another note, my cookie recipe won the Whole Foods pecan recipe contest!! Woohoo! I found out on Friday the 13th (my lucky day!) and was totally psyched. I'm planning another blog post about that, so please stay tuned! Thanks so much for your votes and support! :)