Saturday, February 28, 2015

Super Easy/Fast Baked Potato Soup

I first had baked potato soup at a Black Angus restaurant near my office close to 20 years ago.  The restaurant has been gone for some time, but the memory of that soup has remained- it was THAT good!  Smooth, velvety potato soup, topped with typical baked potato toppings- yummm!  No wonder I craved it during my pregnancy with my son (who is now almost 19- yikes, where did the time go?!)   The concept is simple:  baked potatoes turned into soup, with chicken broth and cream/milk, and don't forget the toppings- cheese, sour cream, bacon, chives, herbs, the works.  Not the healthiest soup in the world, but certainly one of the tastiest!

The other night I was tired, my hubby and I had not eaten, and were both getting cranky.   A survey of the pantry turned up 3 russet potatoes that were not yet too soft to throw away, but a few days away from it.  So, I scrubbed them and threw them in the microwave.  Soup followed, and let me tell you, it did not taste like a last-ditch-before-tossing-the-potatoes soup!  It was creamy, hearty, and delicious.  And, did I mention, easy??  Oh yes, it was!  I just had to share it here.  This was about a 30 minute total, from start to finish.  Doesn't get easier than that!

Baked Potato Soup, With Toppings

3 slices bacon, chopped
3 medium size russet potatoes
3-4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half

Bacon bits
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream
Chives or chopped green onions

Scrub potatoes and dry.  Prick several times with a knife or fork.  Place on a plate in microwave,  Microwave for about 10 minutes.  Check after 10 minutes and cook for additional time if needed, until potatoes are soft.  Remove from microwave and allow to cool slightly.

 Meanwhile, heat chopped bacon in a pot on medium high heat.  Cook and stir until crispy.  Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Drain fat from the pot and return to stove.

Slit the skins of the potatoes open and scoop potato flesh out with a spoon and add to the pot.  Discard skins.  Add chicken broth and heat on medium-high to a simmer.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Use a potato masher to mash potatoes in the broth until no large hunks remain.  Bring back up to a simmer, then add half and half, stirring in to incorporate.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and top with toppings as desired.

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