All photos: Laura Hobbs, Fayetteville Flyer
My mom makes an amazing potato soup. It’s a recipe from my grandmother, who got it from her mother, who got it from who-knows-where. It’s incredibly simple: onions, celery, potatoes, milk and broth. I’ve tried to replicate it, but you know how when you try to replicate something your mom makes, it’s just never quite as good? Story of my life.
Last winter, I came across a recipe in Cooking Light that was similar to mom’s recipe in essence, but with a few tweaks. Cooking Light took one of winter’s most comforting meals – a loaded baked potato – and turned it into a thick, creamy pot of soup. I made it one night, underwhelmed by its appearance – pale, lumpy, gloppy – but was taken aback by its hearty deliciousness. Don’t judge others like you judge yourself – isn’t that how the saying goes? Something like that.
The soup starts with simple baked potatoes from the oven (I don’t even wrap mine in foil or prick the skins – I’ve never benefitted from doing either of those things) and turns into a creamy, cheesy pot of soup with some straight-forward help from a little flour, milk and cheese. The flavor is heightened with the likes of green onion – and a little garlic powder, in my case – and if you want to take it all the way, add some crumbled bacon on top. Heck to the yes.
What’s really great about this soup, besides the fact that it’s a no-brainer to throw together and will last two people almost a week, is that you can save the potato skins, sprinkle them with a little cheese and smoked paprika (my spice of choice these days), put them under the broiler and voila: snack time.
On a chilly night when you want something hearty and comforting, this is the soup for you. Enjoy!
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Baked Potato Soup
4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 c. flour
6 c. 2% milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 c. sour cream
3/4 c. green onions, chopped, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool the potatoes. Slice them in half and scoop out the insides; save the skins for another use or discard. Coarsely mash the potatoes.
Place the flour in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Gradually add the milk, whisking until blended. Cook the milk and flour mixture over medium heat until thick and bubbly, about 8 minutes. Add the mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper to taste, stirring until the cheese melts. Remove the soup from the heat.
Stir in the sour cream and 1/2 cup of the green onions. Return to the heat and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the soup is thoroughly heated through (do not boil the soup). Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with more cheese, green onions and bacon.
* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville, but has recently moved to Boulder, Colorado. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more from Laura, check out her food blog, Prana & Pie.