baked potato soup

It is the end of summer, but it already feels like fall has arrived.  It’s been in the 40s and 50s at night here lately, and the leaves on one of the trees down the street are  starting to change colors.  The college students are back in town, already starting their second week of classes, and the Hawkeye football season kicks off in less than a week.  While the farmers’ market will be going for another two months and there is still plenty of end-of-summer veg available, it seems like the perfect time to start cooking lots and lots of comfort food.

One of my favorite things to cook in the fall and winter seasons is soup.  I cook pots of soup throughout the year, but I appreciate it so much more when the days are getting shorter and the nights are cooler.  This baked potato soup is one of my all-time favorites.  It’s rich and hearty and perfect with a slice or two of crusty bread – it’s also easy to throw together on a week night.  My version is lighter than the original (sometimes I use even less butter than I noted), but the flavor is not adversely affected in the least.

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Baked Potato Soup

Adapted from Taste of Home

Yields about 4 servings

Ingredients

2 to 3 large baking potatoes
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, scant
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 cups skim milk
1/2 cup sour cream (fat-free is fine)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
4 to 5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (turkey bacon is fine)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Bake potatoes at 350 degrees F for 65-75 minutes or until tender (alternatively – microwave the potatoes for 7 to 10 minutes under damp paper towel, in ziploc bag with a tablespoon or so of water, or in a special cloth pouch).  Cool potatoes completely, then peel and cube them.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth.  Gradually add milk and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for around five to six minutes or until thickened (I use skim milk, so it takes me closer to 10 minutes to achieve desired thickness).
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream.
  4. Add potatoes and green onions.
  5. Garnish with bacon and shredded cheese.
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