Fully Loaded Potato Soup

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Why? Because once in a while you find yourself staring blankly at 20 oversized potatoes in your kitchen and can't fathom why those bags from Costco have to be so darned huge. Always looking on the bright side, you then think that it is probably for the better because it forces you to get your creative juices flowing and expand your culinary horizons. 

Not that potato soup is beyond my horizon, but seriously, I haven't made it until today. Monique scoured some recipes on Youtube and came up with some versions of baked potato soup (not that the potatoes were baked, but it featured sour cream, green onions and bacon, typical of baked potatoes), then I looked for some more written (i.e. no video available) versions and came across potato soup that starts with mirepoix (i.e. a trio of aromatics: onions, celery and carrots). We combined the best of both worlds and violà, we have a recipe! Our Fully Loaded Potato Soup!

First time's a charm? Yes, it is on this one. This potato soup was most suited to the chilly evening (single digits in C now) and just a teeny bowl was so comforting and warming to the belly. The onions, carrots and celery brought another layer of flavour that made it unnecessary to load up on the cheese and bacon (LOL, I can't believe I'm saying this! Strange, but true). And ... I ditched the traditional sour cream and used Greek yogurt instead. Another win!

Creamy, rich and utterly satisfying.

12 slices lean bacon, cut into thin strips
1 onion, diced finely
2 carrots, diced finely
3 celery stalks, diced finely
60 g (1/2 cup) flour
480 ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
720 ml (3 cups) milk
4 large Russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (need iron? don't peel them, just scrub)
125 g (1 cup) shredded or grated cheddar cheese (plus more to top)
240 ml (1 cup) Greek yogurt (bit more to top)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 stalks green onion, sliced thinly (4 stalks into the soup, 2 to top)

1. In a heavy bottomed stockpot, brown the bacon until 'almost' crisp, then place it on a paper lined plate or baking sheet to soak up excess oil.
2. Remove all but 1/4 cup of bacon oil, then add the onions, carrots and celery, cooking until they have softened. Keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan while you're at it.
3. Sprinkle the flour and whisk it in, it will start to get a bit thick.
4. Add the vegetable stock a little at a time if the roux is too hard to whisk.
5. When the flour has cooked through, add the rest of the broth, then the milk, whisking it in, making sure there are no visible lumps of flour.
6. Place the potatoes in the pan and let it come to a boil on medium heat until it softens. To check whether the potatoes are cooked, poke it with a fork.

7. When done, grab your immersion blender and, very carefully, smooth it out to your desired consistency. Too thick for you? Add some broth or milk at this point, then bring to boil again.
8. Stir in the cheddar cheese, yogurt, and green onions, then season to taste.
9. Pour into bowls, and top with more cheese, yogurt, green onions, and those bacon bits you reserved.

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