Family Favorite Soup

Thick and creamy with chunks of Potato and all the Toppings of a Baked Potato!The soup is simple yet has all the flavors of a fully topped baked potato. The soup is put together in half the time that it would take to actually bake a potato in the oven and you get to use a spoon so the title of this lovely family favorite. . .named by my Mom. . .is:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
The potato skins are fried in bacon fat to give the soup an overall baked potato flavor. Also, there is plenty of smoky bacon, cheese, and sour cream with a touch of scallions. If you heat leftover soup back up, just remember to gently warm the soup in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the soup boil because the sour cream in the soup will seperate.

8 ounces bacon, chopped
3 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. all-purpose flour
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 t. dried thyme
2 c. shredded sharp cheese, plus additional for garnish
1 c. sour cream, plus additional for garnish
3 scallions, sliced thin

Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. While bacon is cooking, use vegetable peeler to remove wide strips of potato peel; reserve peels, Cut peeled potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels. Add reserved potato skins to bacon fat in pot and cook until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer potato skins to plate with bacon.

Add onion to fat remaining in pot and cook over medium heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and flour and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth and cream, stir in thyme and potatoes, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes.
Transfer 2 cups cooked potatoes to bowl. Puree remaining soup in batches in blender until smooth. Return to pot and warm over medium-high heat. Off heat, stir in cheese until melted, then whisk in sour cream, Return reserved potatoes to pot and season soup with pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with bacon, fried potato skins, scallions, and sour cream.

REHEATING LEFTOVERS: To reheat leftover portions of the Loaded Baked Potato Soup, gently warm the soup in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the soup boil, which will cause the sour cream to separate.


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