I am a happy girl when I can begin to make soups, stews, and heartier foods again. The smell of fall is in the air and the leaves are beginning to turn and fall onto the ground here in western New York. In fact, the weekend actually had a bit of autumn temperatures, which was the perfect reason to make some soup. I've been wanting to make a baked potato soup for a while and now that I have, I only wonder what took me so long. It's a delicious - stick to your bones - kind of soup. Perfect for crisp weather. Plus it's very simple to make. This soup is definitely going to be a popular dish at our place this winter.
This recipe will make a large pot of soup - about 4-5 large bowls. Please feel free to use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock for a vegetarian version. Enjoy any leftovers for an easy lunch at work the next day.
Baked potato soup
1 white/yellow onion, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
a couple pinches of ground cayenne pepper
approximately 2.5 lbs. unpeeled russet potatoes, diced
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon fresh minced chives, plus more for garnish
sharp white cheddar cheese, for topping
In a large soup/stock pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir. Cook until softened. You don't want to brown them, just sweat them out. Add the garlic and stir well. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the paprika and cayenne. Cook for about 1 minute.
Add the stock and stir well to de-glaze the bottom of the pot. Then add all of the potatoes. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and cook until it comes to a boil. Stir, reduce to a simmer, and continue to cook, covered, until the potatoes are soft (approximately 25 minutes).
Using a hand blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. I like to leave some texture, so I just give it a quick puree. Alternatively, you can puree about half in a regular blender (in batches). Season with salt and pepper to taste (add more paprika for smokiness or more cayenne for heat at this point, too, if desired). Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Stir in the chives. If the soup is too thick for your taste, add a bit of water or milk to thin it out a little.
Serve hot topped with cheddar and chives. Sour cream, crumbled bacon, and/or scallion greens would also be great toppings. Serve with some crusty bread and/or a green salad.
What was I cooking one year ago?: zucchini bread
Two years ago?: watermelon rind pickles