Vetted Cheesy Potato Soup
The backstory of this recipe finds its roots in my unwillingness to pack a lunch to take to work. The restaurant I was employed at allowed us to enjoy the soup of the day at no charge. I rolled the dice each day on whether or not there would be an agreeable soup option for lunch. I always wished for the kitchen to whip up a pot of cheesy potato soup (by far my favorite). There were many unfortunate days where something like stuffed cabbage soup was served and, on those days, I usually just starved.
I never got the recipe for their cheesy potato soup, so after quitting I had to mess around in my home kitchen to create an equally delicious one. I ended up with a final product that far exceeded my expectations. This soup is absolutely delicious!
8 slices bacon cut into bits* (I prefer thick cut)
3 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion -chopped
4 tsp minced garlic
⅓ cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream **
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2-3 lbs potatoes (I use either red or russet.)
½ pound cubed ham *** (can be omitted)
¾ cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Cut bacon into bits and fry in a large pot until crispy.
Remove cooked bacon bits and set aside.
Add butter to remaining bacon fat and saute chopped onion on medium-low heat until browned (about 5 minutes).
Add minced garlic and allow to simmer for a minute.
Add ⅓ cup flour and stir in until completely dissolved.
Pour in milk, heavy whipping cream, and broth.
Sprinkle in salt and pepper.
Dice potatoes to desired cube size and add to pot. Cook on medium heat until fork tender (roughly 20 minutes.) Be careful to stir frequently to keep the milk from burning.
Once potatoes are soft, spoon roughly ⅓ of the potato cubes and about 1 cup of liquid into a blender. Blend until completely pureed and add back to soup pot.
Melt in sour cream and cheddar cheese.
Return bacon to the soup, and add in cooked cubed ham if desired.
Simmer on low for at least 10 minutes before serving.
*The easiest way I have found to cut raw bacon into bits is by using a sharp kitchen scissors.
**You may substitute half and half for the heavy whipping cream. Use a little more half and half and reduce the milk to keep the creaminess.
This soup is even better the second day. If I'm making it the day of, I prefer to start it early so it can stew longer before eating.
***You don't have to add ham, as I often have skipped it without compromising on flavor. This soup is still very filling with just bacon and potatoes too. I usually have leftover cubed ham in my freezer from buying in bulk and need ways to use it up.
I have been making this soup for dinner for years now and never tire of it. It pairs well with a loaf of easy no-knead bread or with pretzel bites for dipping in the cheesy soup base. (My recipe for preztel bites will be coming soon!)