Sunday, September 18, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

It's a very rare occasion that Steven, my husband, requests anything specific for dinner.  He's very easy going when it comes to meal time - he can take it or leave it, pbj it or gourmet it.  He always appreciates anything I make - even if it's less than my best effort (there's good reason I fell in love with & married this man!).  So, of course, when he does request something, I'm happy to oblige!

Friday night we attended a high school football game in Tacoma.  It was a fun, in house rivalry for us since our 15 year old's school was playing Steven's alma mater.  It was pretty chilly though and by the time we headed home we were all human popsicles so Steven's suggestion of soup - specifically potato soup - for dinner Saturday night sounded ideal!  We stopped at the store on the way home and I found some lovely, small to medium sized golden potatoes and picked up the rest of the item I would need to complete the meal.

Saturday evening rolled around and I decided to approach the soup a bit differently than I had in the past.  I really like to bake the potatoes, then put them in the soup for that lovely baked potato flavor but I wanted to try roasting the potatoes instead and see how that would turn out.  I was just about to put the potatoes in the oven when Steven announced we was going to play poker with his friends - just as well, I thought - I knew it would hurt the soup any to be made ahead and heated Sunday - in fact, it would probably make it that much better, so I continued on with making the soup.

We had it tonight for dinner & it was the thickest, heartiest potato soup I've made to date!  The potatoes were tender, the soup was thick, rich and ultra-filling - none of us could eat more than one bowl!  We had a simple spinach salad - just spinach and hard-boiled egg with it as well as shredded cheddar cheese, chives and light sour cream to top the soup.

Potato Soup
about 12 small-medium potatoes
4 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 pint half & half
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut potatoes into 1/2 or 1/4's depending on their size, so they are about 1 inch wedges.  Place in a roasting pan, sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat potatoes thoroughly.  Bake until nicely browned - about 30-40 minutes and set aside to cool.

Place a dutch oven on the stove top at med-med. high heat and allow it to preheat while you chop the bacon.  Cut the strips in 1/2 lengthwise, then slice into pieces.  Cook bacon in dutch oven until browned on one side, add onions and continue cooking until bacon is evenly crisp and onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add about 2 tablespoons of flour stirring well, and let it cook about 2 minutes.  Reserve about 1 cup of the roasted potatoes and mash the rest right in the roasting pan.  (you may need to cut up the skins a bit with a knife)  Add the mashed potatoes to the dutch oven and stir well.  Add chicken stock and half-n-half.  Cube up reserved potatoes and add to soup pot.  Allow it all to come to a boil, stirring occasionally, then turn down to a simmer and allow it all to heat through or you can turn it off at the point and store it in the refrigerator over night.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve hot with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped chives (scallions will work too) and sour cream.

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