September 6th, 2012

cafela: (salt is magical)
I only have one picture of this soup, because I made it on a whim and it disappeared quickly. David doesn't like potatoes, so I don't make potato-based foods very often--but there was a sale on fingerling and red potatoes (my favorite!), so I got two small bags of them last week. I definitely plan to make more of this in the future, as it's simple and if you slice the potatoes thinly, very quick.

Cheesy Potato Soup


3 heaping cups potatoes (fingerling, gold, red...most any kind will do--I used a mix of red and gold fingerling)

4 cups chicken stock

1 tb bacon fat (I had this on hand, but you can fry up 4-5 pieces of bacon to get the fat, then crumble the bacon to use as a garnish)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic salt

1 shallot, minced

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

4 to 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese (depending how cheesy you want it)

1/2 cup cream or half n half

salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: Do NOT use pre-shredded cheese; it will not melt properly b/c the additives that keep it from clumping together in the bag also prevent it from melting easily in large batches)

If you need to fry bacon to get the bacon fat, do this as your first step.

If you don't have a bay leaf, you can substitute 1/2 tsp each of thyme and sage, OR 1 tsp herbes de provence.

First, saute the shallot, garlic, garlic salt, and onion powder in the bacon fat on medium high until the shallot is translucent. Next, add the chicken stock and the bay leaf. Turn the heat up to bring that to a boil while you wash and slice your potatoes.

I left most of the skins on; it gives the soup a good color and gives you extra fiber/nutrients. Plus it's just easier to leave the skins on the potatoes. In order for this to cook in the times I'm listing, you'll want to slice the potatoes very thinly, no more than a quarter of an inch thick. If you've ever had the Zuppa Toscana potato soup at Olive Garden, think of how the potatoes are sliced in that. If your slices are thicker, it will just take a little longer for the potatoes to cook, which isn't a big deal. Do slice instead of chop, however, because that will give a larger cooking surface, which also helps cooking time.

Add the potatoes and give the pot a good stir to ensure that none of the potatoes are sticking together. Once the pot is back to boiling, cut the heat on the stove back to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and easy to stick a fork through.

Once the potatoes are soft, take either a potato masher or a large spoon and pulverize about half of the potatoes in the pot--this will thicken the soup and give it a nice creamy texture, plus ensure that you have little bits of potato in every bite. Let simmer on medium low for about five minutes.

Now turn the heat to low (or even off) and add the cream. Stir it in completely. Now add the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Whatever you do, do NOT do this step with the soup boiling, because the cheese will not behave nicely if the soup is boiling (and it will be infinitely harder to clean the pot). Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with crumbled bacon or extra shredded cheese.

This makes about 4 large bowls of soup, and you should be able to double the recipe with no trouble, though cooking times will need to be extended by a few minutes. It's a wonderful soup for the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

April 2014

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