A rough Southern storm rolled in today. One that started with an abnormally warm and humid morning: still air that seems to hang in suspense. Then, by afternoon, you see the wall coming from miles away – blue-gray sky covering a dwindling daylight. A breeze stirs, the birds quiet and a few drops warn.
Next, the white light tears the sky while a steady current of rain pours down.
And you open all your windows and doors to let in the smell – wet earth and electricity.
Storms give you a chance to cook comfort foods that make you feel good about keeping dry and safe in a warmly lit home. Baked potato soup is comforting for all sorts of reasons – the sensation of baked potatoes, plus crispy bacon and melting cheese with a creamy broth bubbling away with other aromatics.
My version is an adaptation from Cooking Light – the one biggest difference is the cream. The recipe called for 1% – I only had skim and heavy cream. So naturally I added the heavy cream! With some skim milk and chicken stock (homemade) to thin it out. However, I still think this would be fabulous with healthier creams – the flavors are there, it’s more of a consistency thing.
I also substituted Yukon gold potatoes for most of the baking potatoes. Of course! They are buttery and wonderful – and I happened to have some that I needed to use up.
Finally, I played with avocado and sour cream as a topping – do try it.
Baked Potato and Bacon Soup
- 4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
- 7 bacon slices, chopped
- 4 1/2 c. chopped yellow onion (about 3 large)
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 3 c. skim milk
- 2 c. chicken stock (add more if you want it thinner)
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 1/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Sour cream for garnish
- Avocado slices, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400. Prick surface of baking potatoes and place in hot oven. Bake 45 min to 1 hour, until you can squeeze them a little. Remove to cool. Roughly run your knife through them.
Meanwhile, peel and cut Yukon golds into large chunks and boil until soft enough to mash. Drain.
Combine baking and Yukon gold potatoes in a pot and lightly mash with a potato masher – set aside.
Heat Dutch oven over medium and cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels, leaving fat in the pan. Add onion to dripping and saute 5 min. Add salt, garlic, bay leaf and saute another 2 min. Add potatoes, milk, cream, stock and pepper. Add extra stock, if needed. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer 10 min. Stir in parsley.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with reserved bacon, cheese and green onions.
The potatoes keep this soup very hot, temperature wise, so the sour cream cools it nicely. And who doesn’t love avocado? Like putting pats of butter on top, only better…
Both Grant and I were surprised how good this recipe turned out – sometimes you can’t trust Cooking Light. We froze a bunch to bring up to the cabin, so we will be prepared for more dark and stormy nights.
Enjoy, friends! oxox