For the past few days, it has been pretty chilly in Chicagoland. We have had temps in the 40s most days, prompting me to crave something warm and comforting. Typically, soup is best enjoyed in the fall when temps start to drop. It’s currently spring and the temps are dropping, so I’m bringing soup in fashion two seasons too early.
Who doesn’t love a good baked potato? They are versatile, in that you can add pretty much whatever you like in your baked potato. Want to keep it vegetarian? Omit the bacon and use vegetable broth. Keep it dairy free? Omit the milk and sour cream. Loaded Baked Potato soup is best enjoyed however you like to top your baked potato.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- 1 lb bacon, cooked, crumbled, and bacon fat reserved
- 1/4 cup reserved bacon fat
- 5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 onion, diced finely
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp dried Herbes de Province
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 1 cup sour cream, plus more for topping
- 1 cup white or yellow cheddar cheese, shredded, plus more for topping
- 1/8 cup freshly chopped chives, for topping
- Begin by frying off your bacon in a large stockpot. When nice and crispy, take bacon out and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the bacon fat into a bowl and wipe out the bottom of the stockpot lightly with a wad of paper towels. Return the stockpot to low heat and add 1/4 cup of the poured off bacon fat. Crumble your bacon.
- Add peeled and diced potatoes to a smaller stockpot and cover with 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender.
- Add your diced onions to the bacon fat. Cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add your garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
- Next, add the flour to the bacon fat and onions. Whisk vigorously to ensure no lumps have formed. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes until pale golden brown and the raw flour taste has cooked away.
- Add 1-2 cups of your chicken stock and whisk quickly and carefully, making sure to break up any lumps that may form. Once the mixture has turned into a thick paste, add the rest of the chicken stock and whisk. Add milk, dried herbs, and cayenne.
- Allow the mixture to come to a very low boil and keep on medium low heat until your potatoes are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- Once tender, drain your potatoes. Add them to the chicken stock mixture and allow to boil together for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Be sure to keep the heat on medium low to low for the entirety of cooking to prevent separation from the dairy.
- When ready to serve, turn the heat to the lowest setting. Add your sour cream, cheese, and most of the crumbled bacon, reserving all three for your toppings as well. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, depending on how salty your stock is.
- Off the heat, spoon the soup into bowls and top with sour cream, more cheese, more bacon, and your sliced chives. Serve immediately.