Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Recipe: Baked Potato Soup

5 yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups milk (I used whole b/c it was what we had for some baking projects)
4 cups stock (I used chicken, but you can surely use veggie)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion(yellow or white)
1/4 lb of bacon cut into small pieces
1 bulb of garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Baby it's cold outside which to means soup soup soup! This soup requires you to bake the potatoes and then making the actual soup.

Preheat oven to 375.
Quarter potatoes into wedges (skin on is fine), sprinkle with olive oil and salt and set on a cookie sheet. Make sure that you roll the wedges around so they get a little coating of olive oil one each of the cut sides.

Cut the onion into large wedged and separate. Toss in a bowl with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a scant tablespoon of olive oil. Let me tell you, this step makes a huge difference in the flavor of the soup. The cidery bite is subtle, but very well worth the $2.00 for the vinegar. Leave in the bowl while the potatoes and garlic are cooking.

Cut the top off a head of garlic and set the head on a small square of foil. Pour about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive oil over top, and salt generously (I used fancy pants Fleur de Sel, but whatever salt you have will work fine). Wrap the foil up and around the garlic so that all the open edges are sealed together at the top. Set on the same cookie sheet as the potato wedges.

Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes until fork tender. HALF way through the cooking, add the onions to the cookie sheet and flip the potatoes over to insure even cooking. You do not want the potatoes to brown, just a light coloring and fork tender.

Once all the veggies are cooked (about 50 minutes total) remove from the oven and check on the status of the garlic. The garlic should be a deep golden color, opaque, and soft. The bulb will be hot to handle so let it set before removing the cloves. The garlic may require a bit more time.

Let the potatoes cool to the point you can touch them. I tend to peel off the skin at this point since it's very easy and wastes little of the potato. If you are a pre-peel type of cook, then by all means, peel them before you bake them. Once the potatoes are peeled, scoop the potatoes and onions into a bowl. Add the entire head of garlic by gently squeezing the bulb. The individual cloves should ooze out without much effort. You can also do this with a spoon by pressing the garlic out of the paper. Either way, add it all. Roasted garlic is sweet and nutty and adds a wonderful depth of flavor for very little cost and effort.

So now, in a large bowl (or in a food processor bowl or blender) you should have all your veggies. I used an immersion blender but you can use whatever tool you have to pulverize the veggies. Don't do it dry, oh no-- at this point, add your sour cream, milk, and about a cup to two cups of the chicken stock. The mixture may be a little pasty-- you don't want that. If it is paste like, add more stock. I ended up using about 4 cups of stock TOTAL, but it's entirely dependent on the viscosity of your mixture. I did not add butter but I did pour a little of the excess olive oil into the mix from the cookie sheet. Up to you about how you would like to control the fat content. Remember, there's bacon in it to, so keep it all in mind. Set the soup base aside while you begin to prepare the next step-- the bacon.

In the pot you will be heating your soup, cook the bits of bacon. Trader Joe's has a new applewood smoked bacon that is OUT OF THIS WORLD on the bacon scale. By all means, if you have access to a TJ's get this bacon. Once the bacon is browned and crispy, remove it from the pot and set it aside. At this point, I tend to use a paper towel or two to soak up the excess fat in the pot. I want the brown bits but not the grease. So I get out as much as I can. Then, before pouring the soup in deglaze the pot.

To deglaze, take about a cup of your stock and pour it into the hot pot. Scrape the brown bits down and let the bacony residue cook off. Slowly pour your soup base into the bacony stock and mix them together. Heat the soup through. If you think it is too thick, then by all means, add more stock. Just make sure to stir it to incorporate the stock to the soup.

Immediately before serving return half of the bacon to the soup (use the other half for garnish on top).

I served the soup with a generous shaving of smoked gouda on top and a few bacony bits of goodness. I also added a good amount of ground pepper as I served it.

This recipe made six very sizable portions.

1 comment:

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