I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I know a lot about soup. I’d venture as far as to say it makes up at least 30 percent of my diet. Does this made me a little weird? Probably, but if loving the warm comfort of a bowl of hot soup is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Growing up, my mom was good at many things. Unfortunately for me, however, cooking was not one of them. Be on the lookout for my next article: A definitive ranking of canned soups. I’m partially kidding.
But my mother’s cooking did have one saving grace: the baked potato soup. On at least two occasions, I faked a childhood illness in exchange for this soup. This soup is a spicy, creamy bowl of bacon-y goodness, which — for the sake of your heart health — I wouldn’t recommend making more than twice per year.
Ingredients you’ll need:
5-6 large potatoes
1 bay leaf
1 serrano pepper
1 whole large yellow onion
1 bag of Idaho Original Instant Mashed Potatoes (you won’t need the whole thing)
6-8 cups chicken broth
Milk (as needed)
Salt (as needed)
Sour cream (as needed)
6 chopped celery stalks
1 package thick cut bacon
1/4 brick Velveeta cheese
Tabasco (as needed)
1. Wash your potatoes before using a fork to poke holes in them. Microwave until relatively soft. You can also use regular old baked potatoes if you’d like to skip this part, but I prefer not waiting around for an hour.
2. Pan fry the bacon as the potatoes are softening. The bacon will need to be in smaller chunks once you add it to the soup, but you can do this before or after frying, depending on your preference. The bacon should be crunchy, not burnt.
3. Drain some of the bacon grease and use the remainder to saute the finely chopped celery, onion and serrano pepper. The smaller you can dice the serrano, the better.
4. Add the bacon, chopped vegetables, bay leaf and chicken broth to a large pot on low heat.
5. Cut your now-softened potatoes in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop the potatoes out of the skins and into the pot. I prefer to vary the sizes of the chunks.
6. Bring the soup to a boil for approximately five minutes, or until all ingredients seem done.
7. Return the soup to a simmer and add greek seasoning and salt as needed. I also add about an inch wide slice of Velveeta, three tablespoons of sour cream and 1/4 cup of whole milk. This stage is all about thickening the soup — if you prefer a more brothy soup than creamy, reduce your measurements at this stage.
8. Use instant potato flakes to thicken the soup to your desired consistency.
9. Simmer the soup for another five minutes.
10. Feast. Add tabasco if desired.
Thanks to the instant mashed potato flakes, this soup thickens quite a bit in the fridge. I recommend adding a half cup of water to the bowl before reheating.