The temperatures have been hanging out in the high teens and low twenties for the past few weeks, unseasonably cold for the Pacific Northwest but it has been sunny almost every day instead of raining so I will take the cold to enjoy that sunshine in the middle of winter! Now if we could just get some snow going….
Anyway, the cold weather has put me in the mood for cuddling up to the fire with a warm bowl of homemade soup. This soup is simply amazing, my family loves this stuff and the left overs are so fantastic, I usually double or triple the recipe to make sure we have left overs for everyone’s lunches the next day. Of course, if you have no dietary restrictions, using whole milk, regular cheddar cheese and regular sour cream make a creamy, high-octane soup. The great thing about this recipe is that it is easy to customize to your tastes. Using lower fat options on the ingredients produces great results as well.
Baked Potato Soup
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Flour
4 Extra Large Potatoes, baked and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1-1/2 to 2 quarts Milk (whole, 2% or nonfat, your choice)
1 bunch green onions or fresh chives, chopped
1-1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
½ to ¾ pound Bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 ounces Sour Cream (whole or light, your choice)
1 tsp Johnny’s Seasoning Salt (or your favorite brand)
½ tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Pepper or more to your taste
½ tsp Salt, potatoes sometimes take a lot of salt so taste before adding more
Wash potato skins well, wrap in foil and bake until cooked through. You can use left over baked potatoes for this recipe or make them specifically for the soup. Once they are cool enough to handle, chop into ½” cubes and set aside. While your potatoes are baking, cook bacon, cool, crumble and set aside. Grate cheese and divide into two measuring cups, 1 cup for soup, and reserve ½ cup for garnish. Chop green onions and set aside for garnish.
In a heavy saucepan large enough to accommodate all of the above-listed ingredients, cook the chopped onion and garlic in a spritz of olive oil until onion is tender. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, reduce the heat and slowly melt the butter, whisk in flour to make a light colored roux, slowly begin whisking the milk into your roux, being careful to avoid lumps. Once the milk is completely incorporated, slowly increase the temperature while continuing to whisk until warmed through and slightly thickened, be careful not to scorch the milk.
Stir in Seasoning Salt, cooked onion, garlic, potatoes, 1 cup of the grated cheese and about 1/3 of the bacon, reserving the rest of the bacon and cheese for garnish, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Keeping an eye on the stove temperature let the soup cook for a while, thickening and the flavors melding. About 5 minutes before serving, reduce burner to warm and slowly stir in the sour cream. The sour cream will thin the soup out a bit but if it is too thick for your liking, just add a little milk. Because of the roux and the potatoes, the left overs thicken up quite a bit so add a dash of milk as you heat it up to get your preferred consistency (we like it thick). Serve with a sprinkling of cheese, bacon and green onion/chives on top.