Friday, January 14, 2011

Recipe: Baked Potato Soup

I love potato soup. I make a big batch of it at least every other week and have it for lunch for several days (and the fact that I’m eating leftovers is really the best rave anyone could possibly give about this soup).


I start by baking potatoes. I’m sure you could put them in the microwave have “baked” potatoes in five minutes. But I think the texture that comes from actually baking the potatoes in the oven for an hour or so is incomparable, so I really bake them. I wash five medium to large russet potatoes (and russets are really best for this recipe and for making baked potatoes in general – they have a nice fluffy quality when baked rather than waxy like all purpose or white potatoes, which is fine for boiling or grilling, in fact my preference for those). I prick them a few times with a paring knife or fork (whichever I reach first). Then sprinkle with salt if I’m considering leaving the skins in the soup (either way is fine).

Bake the potatoes in a  350 degree oven for about an hour. I sit the pricked, salted potatoes right on the rack. After baking, I remove them with a pair of tongs and just sit them on a plate to cool.


In a large stockpot, start melting 4 tbsp of butter on medium heat. Dice half an onion, more or less depending on your preference. You could actually leave the onions out if you don’t like them, but I think they give a nice, subtle flavor. Sauté the onion in the melting butter until they’re soft and clear – not brown. If your butter is browning, turn down the heat.


Add 1/4 cup of flour (more if you want a thicker soup – I like to add at least an extra tablespoon of flour – this time I even added more and my soup was still thinner than I like it – so maybe go ahead and add the whole 2 TBSP of extra flour) to the butter and onion and whisk together. Whisk in 2 cups of milk/cream/half & half.


Whatever milky type thing you like to use. Cream will make for a very, very rich soup. I use 1% milk because that’s what we drink. And when I made this batch, I only had one cup of milk left, so I improvised with 1 cup of milk and 3 cups of broth. As long as it adds up to four cups of liquid, it’s good. Whisk in 2 cups of chicken stock, or whatever stock you like. I used some turkey stock I had in the freezer that I had made.

While the soup base comes to a slow boil, begin dicing the potatoes. They may be a little hot. I either use a silicon potholder to hold it steady or just my bare hands. I have pretty heat tolerant baking hands, though.


I cut the potato’s ends off and squeeze them out into the soup. Then I dice the middle section. This gives a good mix of whole chunks of potatoes and finer bits that will thicken and flavor the soup. You could smash a lot more for a less chunky soup that will get fairly thick. Or you could leave everything in dices for a thinner soup with lots of potato bites.

Add in all your diced/smooshed potatoes and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like a lot of freshly ground black pepper. Let everything come up to a slow boil and it’s ready to go.

This soup will thicken a lot as it cools. It will turn into a solid almost in the refrigerator, but it will thin again once it’s warm.



4-5 Russet Potatoes

4 TBSP Butter

1/2 onion

1/4 cup + 2 TBSP Flour

4 C liquid (any combo of milk, cream, and/or broth)

Salt & pepper to taste

Wash whole potatoes and pierce. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until tender. Remove from oven.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until onion is clear and/or soft but not brown. Add 1/4 cup flour (include the 2 TBSP for a thicker soup) and whisk together. Whisk in liquid and allow to boil.

Dice  or smash (or both) potatoes and add to soup. Allow to come to boil again and soup is ready to serve.

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