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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

Wow, is it cold here in Pittsburgh. It's enough to make you want to go back to bed and throw the covers up over your head. If there has to be a positive side to this cold weather, then it would have to be the fact that making soup is a warming and comforting way of dealing with the cold.

I always try to fit in at least one soup a week. A pot always makes way more than we can eat, so I freeze the leftovers for a quick and simple meal that only needs reheated. I used to keep the pantry stocked with things like Chef Boyardee and Spaghetti Os in this case. I can't lie - I enjoy having that extra space for other cooking and baking related products that I can make.

This soup took me back to grade school days. It's funny being a middle school teacher, the students grab up the new cafeteria menu and circle every nacho, pizza, bread stick, and chicken patty day. Brunch lunch is a big one with the students too. I remember baked potato bar day, which was second only to chicken nuggets. A huge baked potato, your choice of plan cheese or with broccoli, and various other sides. It was the best. Dan and I still talk about those potato bars today.

This recipe comes from Annie's Eats. As always, Annie does not disappoint. Cold weather or not, this soup is absolutely delicious.

Baked Potato Soup
4-5 russet potatoes
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
6 cups 2% milk
2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup green onions, chopped
1/3-½ cup light sour cream

For topping:
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Bacon pieces

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork.  Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Scoop the insides of the potatoes into food processor, discarding the peels.  Pulse until the pieces are broken into small chunks.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter.  Add ¼ cup of flour to the pot and whisk into the butter.  Cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and the rest of the flour.  Cook until thick and bubbling, about 6-8 minutes.  Mix in the potato chunks.  Whisk in the salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.  Remove from the heat, stir in the green onions and sour cream.

Serve immediately.  Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon as desired. 

Source:  Annie Eats, adapted from For the Love of Cooking

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