Baked Loaded Potato Soup

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|by Erica

Hey there, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, I am delighted to share with you my tried-and-true recipe for baked loaded potato soup. This thick, creamy, and oh-so-comforting dish is a true crowd-pleaser. Whether you’re looking to warm up on a chilly winter evening or impress your friends with a hearty and delicious option at your next gathering, this baked loaded potato soup will not disappoint. So, grab your apron and let’s dive into the world of potato perfection!

Loaded Potato Soup

This soup is a celebration of the humble potato, transformed into a rich and creamy delight. It’s a dish that combines the coziness of home cooking with the flavors of a gourmet meal. The key to its deliciousness lies in its simplicity and the quality of its ingredients.

Ingredients Needed for This Recipe

  • 4 potatoes, scrubbed
  • 8 bacon slices
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Fresh chives, for garnish

Instructions for Making Baked Loaded Potato Soup

Pierce the potatoes multiple times with a fork, then microwave them for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Carefully halve the potatoes and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skins, and cut into chunks.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool. Reserve up to 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan, discarding the rest. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble it into small pieces.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the reserved bacon fat, garlic, and onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Slowly whisk the flour into the pan and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and half-and-half. Keep whisking until smooth. Gradually add the chicken stock. Bring to a light simmer and whisk in the kosher salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Keep at a light simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly, 5 to 7 minutes.

If you’d like to use cheeses and bacon as a garnish, reserve 1/4 cup of each. Stir in the remaining cheeses, remaining bacon, and the sour cream. Remove the pot from the heat. Scoop potato chunks into the pan, breaking them into small pieces or leaving them chunky, depending on your preference. Serve hot, topped with your favorite garnishes, like cheese, bacon, and chives.

Note: If desired, you can bake your potatoes in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake the potatoes directly on the rack for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Tips

  • Salt: It’s important to add enough salt to bring out all the flavors.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Grate your own cheddar from a block for better melting and taste.
  • Consistency Adjustments: If the soup is too thick, especially when reheating, add some chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.
  • Reheating: Reheat on low heat, stirring often to prevent the potatoes from sticking.

Customizing Your Soup

  • Texture: For a chunkier soup, leave the potatoes as is. For a smoother texture, mash the potatoes directly in the pot.
  • Spice it Up: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
  • Protein Boost: Consider adding ham or shredded chicken for extra protein.

Serving Suggestions

Pair this soup with a slice of crusty sourdough bread or cheesy garlic bread for a complete meal. A side salad with a light dressing can balance the richness of the soup.

Storing and Reheating

  • Refrigeration: Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Freezing is possible but may alter the texture slightly.
  • Reheating: Warm on low heat, adding chicken broth if the soup has thickened.

Tips for Perfecting the Easy Baked Potato Soup Recipe

1. Choosing the Right Potatoes

  • Opt for Russet potatoes for their starchy quality, which contributes to the soup’s thickness and texture. Ensure they are well-cleaned, and you can choose to peel them or leave the skin on for added texture.

2. Achieving the Perfect Bacon Crispness

  • Fry the bacon until it’s crispy but not burnt. The crispness adds a delightful texture, and the rendered fat is key for sautéing the onions, infusing them with a smoky flavor.

3. Balancing the Flour and Milk

  • Gradually whisk in the milk to the flour to avoid lumps. This step is crucial for a smooth, creamy texture. Use whole milk for richness.

4. Simmer, Don’t Boil

  • When adding the potatoes, bring the soup to near boiling, then reduce to a simmer. This prevents the milk from curdling and ensures the potatoes cook evenly without becoming mushy.

5. Customizing Thickness

  • For a thicker soup, mash more potatoes directly in the pot. For a thinner consistency, add additional chicken broth until you reach your desired texture.

6. Seasoning is Key

  • Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper. Potatoes need a good amount of seasoning to bring out their flavor. Taste and adjust accordingly.

7. Cheese Matters

  • Grate your own cheese for better melting and flavor. Pre-shredded cheeses often contain anti-caking agents that can affect the texture of the soup.

8. Garnish Generously

  • Use the reserved bacon, cheddar, and scallions as a garnish to add a burst of flavor and texture with each spoonful.

9. Storing and Reheating

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 3-4 days. Reheat on low heat, stirring frequently. Add broth if the soup has thickened too much.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I make this soup vegetarian?

A: Yes, omit the bacon and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can add a smoky flavor with smoked paprika if desired.

Q: Can I freeze this soup?

A: While you can freeze it, be aware that the texture might change slightly upon reheating, becoming a bit grainy.

Q: How can I add more protein to this soup?

A: Consider adding diced ham or shredded chicken for additional protein.

Q: Can I use a different type of potato?

A: Yes, but Russet potatoes are recommended for their starch content and texture. If you use a different variety, the soup’s thickness and texture might vary.

Q: Is it necessary to peel the potatoes?

A: Peeling is optional. Unpeeled potatoes add texture and nutrients, but peeled potatoes will give a smoother consistency.

Q: Can I make this recipe dairy-free?

A: Yes, use a plant-based milk and cheese alternative. However, this will change the flavor and texture of the soup.

Q: How do I know when the potatoes are cooked perfectly?

A: The potatoes should be tender enough to be easily mashed with a fork. They shouldn’t be too firm or overly mushy.

Q: Can I add other vegetables to this soup?

A: Certainly! Leeks, carrots, or celery can be added for extra flavor and nutrition. Sauté them along with the onions.

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    Hi there! I’m Erica,

    A highly passionate individual with a deep love for creating delicious and creative recipes that are perfect for any occasion. With an extensive background in the culinary arts and a strong flair for experimentation, I strive to push the boundaries of traditional cooking and deliver exceptional dishes that not only satisfy the palate but also ignite a sense of culinary adventure.

    More about me