Okay, when you think of Idaho, is there any food that you really think of other than potatoes? Loaded Baked Potato Soup is one of my favorite soups, and is perfect on a cool night. The potatoes can be baked ahead of time, making prep time in the evening much shorter. Wouldn’t you enjoy a bowl of this after a long day? You can see why I picked this for my “Idaho” recipe in the #Cooking50States series.
When I was a kid, I hated potatoes. I really, really, HATED potatoes. So when my grandmother would offer me her famous potato soup, I quickly declined every time. As I got older, my tastes changed, and while I am still not a huge fan of mashed potatoes, I do like lots of potatoes now. One day I was in a restaurant with my hubby for a date/lunch, and tried some potato soup. I died and went to heaven.
And I wished I had tried my Grandma’s Potato Soup.
After that, I started trying out recipes, and came up with one that we all liked…even my “soup-hater.”
To begin, you’ll bake 5 or 6 large russet potatoes (about 4 to 5 lbs). Simply wash them, poke them with a fork, rub the outsides with a little vegetable oil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about an hour, or until a knife inserted in the center can go in easily. Allow them to cool at least until they are easy to be handled – or do this ahead of time.
In a skillet, cook up some bacon until crispy – about 8 slices. Place the bacon on a plate lined with paper towels. Cut or crumble the bacon, and set it aside. Take about 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings, and place them in your Dutch oven.
Dice up a large onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Sauté them in the Dutch oven until tender, and a little color develops.
Meanwhile cut half of your potatoes open and scoop all of the potato out. The other half you want to simply peel, so you can cut the potatoes into chunks.
When the onions are ready, add in 2 tablespoons of butter, and let it melt.
Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour. Let it cook for just a minute and get bubbly.
Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of milk, and 1 cup of half and half. Have your Dutch oven over medium heat.
Next, add in the potatoes that had been scooped out of the peels.
With a potato masher mash up the potatoes in the soup, as best you can. Let this cook a few minutes, and begin to gently boil. Reduce the heat a little.
Add in 1 cup of shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese. Stir it in and let it melt into the soup.
Grab your chunks of potato, and stir them in. Let it cook just a couple minutes, or until the potato chunks are heated through.
Stir in some salt & pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each), along with a teaspoon and a half of dry parsley.
Serve the soup topped with some additional shredded cheese and the bacon.
- 4-5 lbs russet potatoes
- 8 slices bacon (reserve 2 Tb bacon drippings)
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 Tb flour
- 2 c chicken broth
- 2 c milk
- 1 c half & half
- 2 c grated sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1½ tsp parsley
- sour cream for topping (optional)
- To begin, bake your potatoes. Simply wash and dry them, poke several times with a fork, and then rub the skins with a little olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the center goes in easily. Take them out an allow them to cool. (This can be done ahead of time, or even the day before. Just store the cooked potatoes in the fridge until you are ready for them.) Your potatoes need to cool enough so that you can handle them.
- In a skillet, cook up 8 slices of bacon until crispy. Place them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the grease. Cut or crumble the bacon and set it aside. Place 2 Tb of the bacon drippings in your Dutch oven. Dice up a large onion, and mince the garlic. Sauté them in the Dutch oven until tender and have a little color. Meanwhile, scoop the insides of half your potatoes into a bowl. The other half of the potatoes, you'll peel so you can cut the "meat" into chunks.
- When the onions are tender, add in the butter and let it melt, then stir in the flour. Cook for just a minute and let the flour get bubbly. Pour in the chicken broth, milk and half & half. Cook this over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat a little. Add in the scooped potatoes, and with a potato masher, mash the potatoes into the soup as best you can. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese, and let it melt into the soup. Stir in the potato chunks, and let it cook until the potatoes are heated through. Stir in the salt, pepper and parsley.
- Serve topped with extra cheese, crumbled bacon, and optional sour cream.
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