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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

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    Loaded Baked Potato Soup

    I've been searching in vain for quite a long time for a really good (and easy) Loaded Baked Potato Soup. We've tried soups from various restaurants and have found a few that weren't too bad ... but weren't wonderful either. I've scoured the internet and have found lots of recipes ... but none that really send me (most seem to cook the potatoes in a pot with the rest of the ingredients in hopes of making them taste like they were actually baked ... snore ...).

    Recently, I decided to just work up a recipe myself that tastes good, is easy and quick to make, that (thanks to a misguided DIL) can be tweaked to not overly offend the delicate sensibilities of a vegetarian (sorry, potatoes), and that incorporates ... wait for it ... wait for it ... ACTUAL BAKED POTATOES! Genius, I know ... ...

    Click image for larger version

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    Loaded Baked Potato Soup (with vegetarian option)
    MBM original recipe – with consideration of a few good examples from, e.g., Food Network (Guy Fieri), Cook’s Country, Salt & Lavender, Damn Delicious, etc.

    Course: Lunch, Dinner, Entrée
    Cuisine: American
    Makes: 4 generous meal-size servings
    Takes: About an hour for baking potatoes and frying bacon. 30 minutes or so for the potatoes to cool down a bit. Another 30 minutes for prep and making the soup. 2 hours total (NOTE: The potatoes and the bacon can be prepared well in advance (just remember to keep the bacon grease))


    Ingredients (Vegetarian version: look for “Vsub” in the notes)
    • Approx. 2½ lb., 1.13 kg. (6 med. or 4 lg.) Baking Potatoes – Idaho or Russet
    • 6 Slices Bacon (Vsub: use just butter and maybe add a bit of smoked cheddar or gouda cheese)
    • Butter – salted is ok (Land O Lakes preferred) to supplement the bacon drippings if needed
    • 1 small Sweet Onion (approx. 4 oz., 125g) – chopped
    • 1 clove Garlic – finely chopped (OPTIONAL)
    • ½ cup, 120 ml All Purpose Flour
    • 6 total cups, 1.4L of rich, flavorful milk mixture:
      • 3 to 6 cups, 0.7 to 1.4L of Milk
      • Up to 1 cup, 240 ml of Chicken Broth (A full can is OK here) (Vsub: veg. broth)
      • Up to 1 cup, 240 ml of Heavy Cream
    • 1-2 tsp, 5-10 ml Fresh Thyme – finely chopped (Substitute: ½ to 1 tsp if dried)
    • 5-6 oz., 150-270g Cheddar Cheese – white, yellow, sharp, etc., grated
    • Kosher Salt
    • Black Pepper – freshly ground
    • 1 Small Bunch Fresh Chives – finely sliced for garnish (Substitute: 1-2 scallions)
    • Red Bell Pepper – raw (meh) or sauteed & seasoned, chopped for garnish (OPTIONAL)
    • Sour Cream – for garnish (OPTIONAL)
    Method

    Prep and Bake the Potatoes as You Normally Would (here, I’m using an Air Fryer)
    1. Clean and trim, dry thoroughly.
    2. Rub generously with olive oil and Kosher salt.
    3. Pierce multiple times with knife.
    4. Preheat air fryer to 350ºF (175ºC) for 5 to 8 min. (If no preheat, just add 3-4 min. cook time).
    5. Cook: 350ºF(175ºC)x45 to 60 min; turn every 15 min.
    6. Final temp: 200ºF(93ºC) internal – (extend cooking time as needed to reach final temp). When done, the tip of a paring knife should go through the potatoes easily.
    7. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
    8. Peel the potatoes, discard the skins, and put the pulp in a separate bowl.
    9. Smash with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, leaving them a little bit chunky.
    10. Season lightly with salt and pepper (remember, there’s a lot of salt in the bacon) and set aside.
    For the Bacon
    1. Fry the bacon in the soup pot as you normally would until done and just starting to get crisp … but not too crisp. Overdone bacon makes it taste too heavy.
    2. Leave the drippings in the pot; remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.
    3. Cut the bacon into lardons (thin strips) and set aside.
    Make the Roux, add the Potatoes, and Thicken the Soup
    1. If more fat is needed, add butter as required into the bacon drippings. If you have too much fat, spoon out the excess, leaving about 2 TBSP (Vsub: use just butter + smoked cheese)
    2. Sauté the chopped onion in the bacon drippings until tender, about 5 minutes.
    3. Add the thyme and optional chopped garlic to the onions and stir until fragrant.
    4. Add the flour into the pot and stir to combine.
    5. Cook over low-medium heat, without adding color, until the flour and drippings have combined, about 1 minute.
    6. Pour in the milk mixture while you whisk.
    7. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened, stirring frequently, about 15-20 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, add more milk mixture, stirring constantly.
    8. Add the smashed potatoes to the mixture. Note: If you want the soup a bit smoother, an immersion blender works well here.
    Assemble the Soup, Garnish, and Serve
    1. Add the bacon (reserving a bit for garnish) and 1 cup of the grated cheese (plus smoked cheese if using).
    2. Season again … (but only if needed … so be careful) to taste with salt and pepper.
    3. Stir until the cheese has melted then remove from heat.
    4. Ladle the soup into bowls, optionally top with a dollop of sour cream and red bell pepper, and garnish with remaining bacon bits, grated cheese, and chives/scallions. Serve immediately while very hot.
    Last edited by MBMorgan; October 9, 2021, 09:55 AM.

    #2
    Thank you. That will be great cold winter day food.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for this. Looks delish!

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks, that is going into Paprika now.

          Comment


          • Santamarina
            Santamarina commented
            Editing a comment
            Same!

          #6
          That is just brilliant. I love loaded baked potato soup, it never even crossed my feeble mind to try and make my own. I tell you what, AR is the best couple of thousand I spend a year. I am counting all of my bean, spice, rub, cooker, cookbook and fancy ingredient purchases along with the 22 bucks...

          Comment


          • tbob4
            tbob4 commented
            Editing a comment
            Hahahahahahaha. No truth better spoken

          #7
          I really love this style of soup, had it a couple of different ways but never cooked it myself. Thanks for posting this, it's going into Paprika for this winter's fare !!

          Comment


            #8
            This sounds really good MB. Following this thread so I can find it when I give this a go round.
            Thanks for sharing.

            Comment


              #9
              Looks great. I’m trying it - soon.

              Comment


                #10
                Got me thinkin. Somebody just gave me 10# of onions & 25# of potatoes. Think I’ll make some soup & spread the joy around.

                Comment


                • MBMorgan
                  MBMorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That’s a lotta joy …

                #11
                Thanks! Looks great. However the darn photo disappears. I am definitely going to try this recipe.

                Comment


                • MBMorgan
                  MBMorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I just deleted and re-uploaded the photo from the desktop (instead of the iPhone). Does it work now?

                • tbob4
                  tbob4 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Worked perfectly! Thanks.

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