Bacon & Cheddar Baked Potato Soup

Lorena, this one is for you!

After some hinting from a friend, I decided to give baked potato soup a try.  My inspiration came from Houlihan’s version.  (If you have a Houlihan’s near you, you know exactly what I mean.  It’s delicious!)  I have to warn you though: this is soooo not good for you, but still soooo worth it.

I was able to justify the splurge on two grounds:

  • My next weigh-in for Biggest Loser isn’t for 2.5 weeks.
  • I WILL go to the gym regularly during those 2.5 weeks, not just once or twice (at least that’s my plan).

The soup definitely takes some time to pull together, so you may want to try it on a weekend.  It also makes a lot of servings!  If I ever splurge again, I will halve all of the ingredients except the potatoes.  My only complaint was that the consistency was a little thinner that I would like.  (The leftovers the next day were thicker, so I enjoyed the soup even more the next day.)

Start with the potatoes…

  • Preheat your oven to 425º.
  • Scrub 8 baking potatoes under cold water.
  • Dry completely, then prick multiple holes in each potato with a fork.
  • Place the potatoes on a baking sheet.
  • Bake, until soft to the touch, about 1 hour total.  (I flipped the potatoes after about 45 minutes.)
  • Remove from oven and let them cool so you are able to handle them.

Meanwhile, get started on the soup…

  • Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  (I finally got to use my new dutch oven…yay!)
  • Add 6 slices of bacon.
  • Cook bacon until crisp.  (Flip it when it’s halfway done so it doesn’t burn.)
  • While the bacon is cooking, cut up 2 onions into a small dice and mince up about 5 cloves of garlic.
  • When thebacon is finished cooking, remove it from the pan.  Place the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to collect the grease.
  • Once the bacon cools, break it up into little pieces.
(yum.)
  • Add the onion and garlic to the bacon fat in the bottom of the pot.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.

While the onions and garlic cook, take care of the potatoes…

  • Dice up 4 of the potatoes, skins and all.  (If you are not a fan of the skin, then you can remove them before dicing.)
  • Scoop of the flesh of the remaining 4 potatoes and mash with a fork.  (You can discard the skins of these 4 potatoes.)
  • Once the onions and garlic are soft, cut up 1 stick of butter.
  • Add to the pot, and stir to combine.
  • Once the butter melts, add 4 cups of chicken broth.
  • Add 4 cups of whole milk.  (If you want a thicker consistency, use 2 cups whole milk and 2 cups cream.)
  • Add the mashed and chopped potatoes.
  • Stir to combine everything.
  • Let everything warm up, but do not let the soup boil.  You want just a slight simmer…teeny bubbles…see:
  • While your waiting, slice up some scallions.
  • Once the soup is hot, add 1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese.  (I used yellow cheddar, which gave the soup a slight hint of color.  Use white cheddar if you want to keep it looking white.)
  • Add some s&p and some cayenne pepper.  (I used 1 teaspoon of cayenne.  It gave it a nice heat, but it was not too overpowering.  Use more or less to taste.)
  • Combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.
  • Mix well, then add to the soup.
  • Stir until thickened.

We topped our soup with more cheddar, the bacon, and the scallions.  It was delicious!  Definitely filling, but well worth it!  Enjoy!

BTW…I’ve had the soup 2 nights in a row now.  I’ve been to the gym 0 nights.  Uh-oh!!

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