Thanks to a few lower temperatures, there can be no doubt that it is officially one of my favorite seasons: soup season.
Don”t get me wrong, I will happily brave a hot flash to enjoy the perfect soup in the middle of a southern summer, but my ideal soup setting is a bit cooler with a colorful fall leaf back drop. Maybe it is due to childhood memories of my mom making soup when I was ill or maybe it is the marketing ploys that say if I buy that giant sweater I will somehow end up curled in front of a fireplace eating soup and looking gorgeous. Either way, when I think soup, I think fall and magic.
I am going to guess most of you feel the same so now the questions are: what soup to make (look below for my favorite recipe) and how to keep it hot (look to the right)? I love my microwave and stove, really I do, but when I have made a hot batch of the perfect soup and need to feed a crowd, I do not want to be running back and forth re-heating soup because it is no longer piping hot. Also as a side note, if I have put all of that effort into creating a masterpiece, the container I am serving it out of had better rise to the occasion. So, what is a culinary master to do? Order a Soupercan, they are gorgeous, customizable and even have an adjustable temperature control. Click the picture for more details.
October 2013 - Loaded Baked Potato Soup
1 package of thick sliced bacon
12 tbs of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 cup all purpose flour
7 cups of milk or cream
(note: I prefer a mixture of 4 cups milk, 2 cups half and half, and 1 cup cream but feel free to use what you have on hand. The higher the fat content in the milk, the richer the soup will be.)
4 – 6 potatoes (baked, peeled, and cubed into bite sized pieces.)
4 green onions
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
vegetable or chicken broth on hand.
1. Bake the potatoes. To do this, coat your potatoes in butter or shortening, roll them in kosher salt, and then wrap them in foil like a burrito. Place them in your oven and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until tender. This step can always be done in advance and the baked potatoes left in the fridge until you are ready.
2. Slice your bacon into bits and then cook until crispy. Set aside.
3. While the potatoes are cooling and the bacon is cooking, begin melting your 12 tbs of butter in a large stockpot. Once melted, add the flour and let the mixture cook for a few minutes. It is normal for the mixture to begin to brown a bit. A tan colored roux (flour and butter mixture) is ok, but a deeper brown means your butter has started to burn and you will need to start over.
4. Begin adding your milk one cup at a time along with salt and pepper to taste. Start with the highest fat content and whisk continuously (i.e. Start with cream, add half and half, and finish with milk.) The higher the fat content the more resistant the milk will be to scalding.
5. When all of the milk has been added, continue whisking over medium heat until the mixture has thickened. Remember the mixture will continue to thicken with the addition of potatoes but you can always add the chicken/ vegetable broth to thin it back out.
6. While stirring constantly, add in the potatoes and green onions.
7. Bring the liquid to a boil and let it cook for a minute or two, still stirring frequently.
8. Bring the heat down to low and add in your cheese, 3/4″s of the bacon, and the sour cream.
9. Adjust your salt and pepper to taste and serve with a topping of bacon crumbles and extra shredded cheese or create a baked potato soup bar and let guests dress their own.
Serves 6 – 8
Recipe by: Brianna N. Eason