Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Having a meatless meal once a week is a good thing.

This year, I'm going to try to do 1-2 meatless meals every week - I don't think it will be too hard.  It's good for the budget and the body, so we'll see how it goes.  Here's a soup recipe I pulled from the stacks, from a cooking class I took years ago.  I haven't frozen this one before, but I know SOME potato soups you can, so I will freeze some of it and let you know what happens.  Potato and dairy can be tricky in the freezer, but I have high hopes.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Makes 8 Cups

4 large russet potatoes, baked - about 4 c. flesh, lightly mashed (Yukon golds are fine, too)
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. onion, diced
1/4 c. flour
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. whole milk (using skim will result in a really thin soup)
2 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt & pepper to taste

optional garnish: crumbled bacon, sour cream, chives or sliced scallions, sharp cheddar, etc.

To save some time, bake the potatoes in advance - scrub, dry, and pierce with a fork.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Place directly on the rack in the over and bake about 1 hour, or until completely soft inside.  Scoop out flesh and lightly mash.  Heat skillet and add butter, then saute onions about 5 minutes, or until softened.  Whisk in flour, and cook about 2-3 minutes to remove raw flour taste.  Whisk in broth and milk.  Continue cooking, and stir until thick, about 4-5 minutes.  Add potato and simmer about 5 minutes (don't let it boil).  Stir in parsley and season to taste.  Serve hot with garnishes.

You can set the skins aside, and then slice them into thin strips.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt & pepper and bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes, or until crisp.  They make kind of a fun garnish for the soup.  You could also do some potato skins and freeze them to have a tasty ap on hand.

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