RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM OUR CULINARY INSTRUCTOR GAIL BLAKELY – THE PERFECT COMFORT FOOD
I came late to the party with this soup. I have tried baked potato soup made by other people, and liked it, so I thought I would give it a whirl. I was amazed at how good it was! Depending on your garnishes, it can be strictly vegetarian, if you wish. But I did the whole “loaded baked potato” version, using Kayem bacon, a new item in my supermarket. Next time I served it, I sauteed some pancetta, and sprinkled that on top. You can probably get by with just cheddar cheese and some minced scallions—either way, I think this is a great soup to serve while it’s still cold enough to snow!
- 4 russet potatoes, about 1 ½ lbs, scrubbed clean
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 small shallot, diced
- ¼ cup AP flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ cup sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
- Minced chives or scallion tops
- Prick the potatoes all over and bake for an hour and a quarter in a 350F oven, or in your microwave.
- When tender, let cool until they are no longer steaming; peel and dice the potatoes and set them aside.
- Place a large pot over medium heat and add the butter; when melted, add the shallot and sauce for a few minutes, just until fragrant.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in flour and cook 3 minutes more.
- Stir in the milk and stock, whisk until no lumps remain and the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
- Stir in the diced potatoes, simmer 5 minutes more, then check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if it needs it.
- With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth; stir in the sour cream and bring to a bare simmer. If needed, add more milk—up to 1 cup;
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with cheese, bacon, and chives or scallions. Finish with freshly ground black pepper and enjoy one of the ultimate winter comfort foods. Makes 2 quarts.