Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Loaded Potato Soup

For Christmas this year, my sister got me something that I have wanted for a very, very long time- a Dutch Oven.  This is a type of cookware, either cast iron or aluminum, that produces a wonderful slow cooked, one pot meal.  These are very widely used while camping, but have also become quite popular in indoor cooking as well.  The great thing about them is that they can go from the stove top to directly into your oven to complete cooking.  They are also very commonly used over an open fire, which make them ideal for camping or other outdoor cooking.  You can saute, roast, grill and even bake a cake in a dutch oven!  They are such a versatile cookware, I have been dying to have one to play around with.  So first of all, thank you so much Bonnie!  This thing is going to get a lot of use!

This evening I decided to give this a whirl with a nice homey classic- Potato Soup.  You of course don't need a dutch oven to make this soup.  A stock pot works just fine.  Having a three and a half year old, you have to make food fun.  So I like to serve this with all the toppings on the side so Jackson can add in as much bacon and cheese as he likes.  It gets him involved and will then be more likely to enjoy eating!  I like to serve this along with nice bread for sopping up all the yummy goodness.  It would also be wonderful served right inside a bread bowl.  Yum!  

Loaded Potato Soup
4 strips of bacon
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 cups chopped and peeled potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cups milk (I used almond milk to make it a bit healthier, but any milk you have will work)
cheddar cheese, shredded for garnish
4 scallions, sliced

In a dutch oven or a 5 to 6 quart stock pot, fry bacon over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Once cool, crumble and set aside for garnish.  Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the dutch oven.  Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan drippings and saute until soft but not brown. Add the potatoes and chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Cool slightly. I like a chunky soup so I reserved 2 cups of the potato mixture and set aside. We will add these back in later on. Blend remaining potato mixture until smooth. If you don't care for chunks in your soup, puree the entire mixture. This will make more of a cream of potato soup this way.

Stir together the flour and butter to make a roux. Add milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Carefully add back both of the potato mixture's to the milk. Season with salt, pepper and paprika and simmer until heated through.

Top with the shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and sliced scallions. Serve with nice crusty bread to wipe your bowl clean. Enjoy!

*pardon my icky pictures.  My camera's LCD screen broke over Christmas, so I can't see what it is I am photographing or play around with any of my settings.  I just have to guess at what I am taking a picture of and hope for the best!  Thankfully I have a fun new DSLR camera on the way- I can not wait! 

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