My husband loves baked potato soup. I have never really liked it though, especially that stuff that comes out of a can. I'm sorry, but that is not good--I'm not even sure what that's supposed to taste like. Here's a weird food thing of mine: I like bacon, but I do not like it mixed into things. I think it dominates the flavor, and bacon is all I can ever taste. I'm trying to come around...eventually. Thankfully, this soup has no bacon except what you add on top. My husband adds a ton of bacon, and I add none. This soup rendered him speechless. It's amazing. The flavors are spot on. It's the perfect meal for a chilly or wild weather day.
This recipe makes a lot of soup. If I halve the recipe, there's enough for about two dinners for two of us. Last time I made it, I made the full batch and put the rest of the soup into several quart-size freezer bags. When we need a quick meal, I can pull a bag out of the freezer, warm it up, garnish it with more cheese and chives, and serve. It freezes and thaws beautifully. One other note, if you don't want to burn your hands or play a game of hot potato, I recommend baking these potatoes at 350 degrees for about an hour or so (until they're soft) the day before you make the soup. Just wrap them up or stick them in a container so they're cool when you need them.
Baked Potato Soup
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5 russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
6 cups whole milk*
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for about an hour or until softened and fully cooked. Let cool, then slice the potatoes in half. Scoop the insides out of half of the potatoes and mash those. For the other half of the potatoes, slice the skins off and cut those potatoes into bite-size pieces. Discard the skins. This gives you potatoes that will be blended into your soup as well as chunks for some texture.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add half of the flour and whisk until it turns golden brown, about two minutes. Slowly add the milk while whisking, making sure to scrape any flour off the bottom and edges of the pan. Add the remaining flour, whisk to combine, and cook until it has thickened, stirring pretty frequently. This takes about 8-10 minutes.
Once thickened, add your mashed potatoes and pieces. Stir. Add the salt, pepper, and cheese and stir until cheese has melted. Remove from heat, add the green onions and sour cream, and serve. Garnish with cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon.
*Whole milk will give the soup a thicker, creamier taste. I would not use skim milk, but last time I made this I only had about 2 cups of whole milk. So I substituted the rest with 1 cup of cream and 3 cups of 2% milk, and it tasted great. Use what you have, but the fattier the milk, the better it will taste. Sorry, but it's just not a low calorie soup.