Loaded Potato Soup


Ingredients:

  • 1/3 pound bacon (about 8 slices)
  • 1/2 onion, diced very small
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut very small
  • 3 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled 
    • cut into sizeable chunks, boiled 30 min
  • To make this a chunkier soup (or for leftovers) add 1-2 cups small red potatoes
    • washed, cut into chunks, boiled until tender
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste (3 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 (15oz) cans chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups total)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped small
  • Garnishes
    • grated cheddar cheese, crisp cooked bacon pieces
    • dollop sour cream, chopped chives
Written Method:
  1. Begin by putting the 3 pounds of peeled yellow potato chunks on to boil in cold water.  
  2. While the potatoes are coming to a boil, cut the bacon into lardons (pieces about 1/2" wide), and cook them in a heavy soup pot or dutch oven until crisp.  When done, remove them to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the bacon grease in the pot.  This will become part of the flavoring for our soup.
  3. To the bacon grease, add the 3 Tbsp butter.
  4. Saute the diced celery and peeled/sliced carrots in the butter/bacon grease. Allow the carrots and celery to cook down until soft on medium heat, stirring frequently.  This will take several minutes.
  5. Once the carrots and celery are cooked soft, add the garlic paste (or cloves).  Cook another minute until fragrant, stirring to be careful not to burn the garlic.  It's almost like we are building a mirepoix.
  6. Now we are going to turn this into a roux to thicken soup.  Add 1/4 cup flour, sprinkling over the top of sauteed vegetables.  Cook the flour down into vegetables, stirring it as you go, for several minutes.  You don't want it to taste floury.  Let it cook until it turns just a bit brown /tan and smells a little bit nutty.
  7. Slowly whisk in about half of the milk, whisking as you go. 
  8. Once you have a nice thick paste, add the rest of the milk in, still whisking. 
  9. Whisk in the chicken broth.   Adds additional flavor while keeping it from being so heavy.
  10. By this time, the potatoes have come to a boil and have had time to get fork tender.  Using a kitchen spider, carefully transfer them from the boiling pot to the soup pot.  *Note, I am not transferring all of them at once.  I am going to leave about a third of them in the pot for the time being to be added last.
    1. *Cook's Note - If you need to reheat this soup and would like an extra textural component, the yellow potatoes shown here will all "mush up."  Add that point, you can always add a 1-2 cups washed, chopped small red potatoes that you have boiled to fork tender.  The red potatoes will hold their shape.  You can add extra chicken stock, seasoning, etc to account for the extra potatoes. 
  11. Pepper to taste... we used 1 tsp restaurant style black pepper.  
  12. 1 Tbsp kosher salt (not table salt).  If you are using table salt, you will probably use much less. 
  13. Now let's do some fun stuff by mashing up the potatoes with a potato masher.  You get to control how smooth or how chunky you would like your soup at this point.  
  14. Let's add in the cup of half and half now.  At this point, we don't want to boil the soup any more.  Just a nice simmer will do the job.
  15. So, you remember those extra potatoes that we left in the pot?  Now we are going to bring them to the party.  The soup we have in our pot is pretty smooth, and we do want some texture in here, so that's why we left them there.  These chunks are pretty large, so feel free to break them up a bit smaller if you want to.  
  16. Lastly, we MUST have a bit of color in our soup.  A bit of FRESH.  So in goes our chopped chives. The chives have a very mild, garlicky, oniony flavor that will enhance our soup just perfectly.  Also, they look beautiful in the soup.  
  17. Okay, let's kick these up a few notches and make them beautiful with our garnishes!!!  We added all the yummy fixins that you would add to a loaded baked potato:  Crisp bacon, fresh chives, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and a dollop of creamy sour cream!