As I think I've mentioned a time or three this week, it's gotten pretty cold here abouts. Today's high is supposed to be a grand total of 26. Now, for many of you out there, that sounds like a fine, spring morning. I, however, am from Two Rivers country, not the Borderlands.
(Not that we have much in the way of woods around here, mind you. Actually, we may be closer to Ghealdean... If you do not get the reference, it's okay.)
Anyway, this time of year Sam and I have a tendency to have lots of soup: potato soup, chicken noodle soup, tomato soup, chili, stew... et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Yesterday evening I decided to make us potato soup, and on a lark I decided to pretend I know what I'm doing and took photographs of the process.
If you want to skip the inanity to follow, I totally get it and understand. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.
*watches the stampede for the door*
For the three of you who are still here, I somewhat prouldy present:
How to Make Loaded Potato Soup.
First we need to gather our cast of characters:
Half & Half, Milk (2% in this house), 6-10 Golden Butter potatoes, scallions, sour cream, bacon, butter, and 1 slice of Velveeta cheese.
Trust me, you will love the Velveeta cheese. You can substitute any cheese you like, really, but Sam is a huge fan of Velveeta.
Not pictured but also needed will be garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, sage, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. For the purposes of this demonstration, we will be using dried spices, 'cause that's just how we roll around here.
(I do have high hopes for planting an herb garden this spring. We'll see how that works out.)
To start off with, we'll need to mash all of those potatoes mentioned above. This recipe was originally meant for using up leftover mashed potatoes, but we rarely have any leftover, so I always end up making some just for this soup. If, however, you have any on hand from the previous evening, then spend this time warming them back up.
For the rest of us folks, lets get on with the washing and dicing.
As you finish chopping up each potato, toss the chunks into a 4-6 quart stock pot, until it fully covers the bottom. In my case it took about 8 potatoes.
About like so. Once you have that, fill the pot with water until it covers all of the potatoes, then throw in some salt and place'em on the stove on high. You'll need to boil them for 10-15 minutes, or until tender enough to poke easily with a fork.
While that's going on, it's time to prep the bacon and scallions. First, wash your 4-6 scallions and lop off the roots. Then, go ahead and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces, like so:
Once you've done that, set them aside for the moment.
Next, pull yourself out a skillet, put it on medium heat, and toss in about 2 tablespoons of butter to melt while you're prepping the bacon.
Last night for this soup I used 1/2 pound (8 oz) bacon, which I chopped into roughly one inch pieces.
By the time that's done, the butter in the skillet should be melted down. Throw in a handful of the scallions...
...and all of the bacon.
Stay with the bacon and scallions, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is good and crisp and that poor handful of scallions are pretty much wasted away to nothing.
Set aside the skillet with all of that bacony goodness, and let us return our attention back to our potatoes.
By this point they should be more than ready to come off the fire if you haven't already removed'em. Drain off all of the liquid so that you have a steaming pile of potatoes.
They were steaming. Trust me.
Then throw the potatoes back into the original stock pot and proceed to mash'em.
Once they get to looking like the above picture, add in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk, until you can just start to see it amongst the potatoes.
Once you've added the milk, add in 3 tbsp of butter, then finish mashing the potatoes until they look like this:
Now we're ready to actually commence with the soup. Woot!
Place the stock pot back on the stove on medium-low heat. Next add in first 1 cup of 1/2 & 1/2, then 2 cups of milk.
Once you've added in all of the milk and 1/2 & 1/2, put in your first round of spices.
Typically, I don't measure out the spices I put in things--I eyeball it and taste as I go. For an idea of about how much I put in for each "round," here's a view from a little later in the process:
Pictured here is marjoram, sage, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Again, taste as you go. There have been times where I've put as few as two rounds of spices in, other's I've put as many as 5. Also, you may find you need just a little bit more of one particular spice, so that's all you add instead of a full round.
In this case, however, we're just now adding in our first round of spices.
Stir up the soup, and once thoroughly mixed it should look something like this.
Next add in the bacon, 2 tbsp of the grease, and the rest of the scallions you cut up.
Stir until thoroughly mixed. Next, do another round of spices, and then again, thoroughly mix together.
Now if you wanted you could stop here, and it would be a decent potato soup. However, we're going to add a few more things to make this a great potato soup.
First tear up a slice of Velveeta cheese and add it to the soup. Stir until the cheese has completely melted.
Next, add in one dollop of sour cream.
"What's a dollop?" you ask?
This is a dollop:
Now, the thing with the sour cream is you cannot let the soup come to a boil. If you do, it will start to separate in the soup and it's just not nearly as tasty. So kick the heat down to low, and keep stirring after you've added the sour cream.
Do one last round of spices (if you think it needs it) and also add in just a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it a bit of a kick. Once it looks like the sour cream has melted into the soup, make one last taste test to see if you need to make any adjustments to the spices. If not, you're are ready to serve and enjoy!
Cooking time: 1 hour
Size: 6-8 people
6-10 Golden Butter potatoes
5 tbsp butter
1/2 lb bacon
1 cup Half & Half
2-1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp marjoram
2 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 pinch of pepper flakes
1 slice of Velveeta cheese
2 tbsp of sour cream
Wash and dice up potatoes. Put potatoes in 4-6 quart stock pot and cover in water. Boil potatoes on high for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
Chop scallions into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. Chop bacon into 1 inch pieces and set aside. Melt 2 tbsp of butter on medium high, then sautee tbsp scallions and all of bacon. Once bacon is crisp, set aside, saving 2 tbsp of bacon grease.
Once potatoes are tender, drain of water and then mash using 1/2 cup of milk and remaining butter. Once creamy, put stockpot with mashed potatoes back on the stove on medium-low heat. Add half and half and remaining milk to soup. Then add spices. Next add scallions, bacon, and 2 tbsp bacon grease.
Next add 1 slice of Velveeta. Once the cheese has melted in, kick temperature down to low and add sour cream. Once sour cream has melted in, taste test then serve.