So, here in Oklahoma, you might, let’s say, go boating on a Sunday, and spend all day outside in the beautiful 80 degree weather in mid-March.
You might walk the track at our scenic, local-city-lake and smile as you watch Max, your little Maltese trot proudly around the track. Your smile may turn to worry as you see him encounter a huge husky or black lab along the way, but mostly you just enjoy the glorious spring and almost summer-like weather!
And then you wake up the next morning and find out it’s going to snow! Welcome to Oklahoma! There’s a reason we’re known for twisters and storms.
So on a cold, wet (what the weather forecasters called “wintry mix”) day, what better than a bowl of savory, creamy Baked Potato Soup?
We host a small group of teenagers from our church into our home each Monday evening, and yes, we also feed them. Usually, they eat each and every morsel of whatever we fix. You think I’m exaggerating here- not one crumb left over! And if you accidentally leave anything out on the counter that you didn’t intend to leave out…they eat that too! This week we did a baked potato bar and gasp!! We ended up with 6 potatoes left over!
Now, my husband is one of those great guys who actually will cook in the kitchen with me. We just have different styles sometimes. He cleans as he goes, and I trash the whole kitchen and then clean it all at once. I figure “what’s the difference?” You either clean a bunch of little times, or just one big time. Same time frame right? And I like to stay on task and not get distracted. Oh, and I usually make a BIG mess!
Anyway, he is always cleaning everyone’s messes. He is Mr. Wonderful, and not just because he cleans up my chaos. And he’s learning to live with it (or pretends to be). He calls it his “therapy”. Like this time we got our pictures taken in the park……he got stuck carrying the coats and blankets everyone left behind…
Back to the recipe… I’d like to take credit for this one but Mr. Wonderful made it!
The ingredients of love – 1 medium onion, 3 garlic cloves, olive oil, flour, milk, 1/2 & 1/2, chicken broth, previously baked potatoes, cream cheese, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, real bacon bits or cooked chopped bacon, green onions
Begin by adding 2 T. of olive oil into a pot on medium heat. Then, chop a medium onion. I’m new at this so I didn’t get a picture. So sorry! Next time I’ll include how to do that properly. Stir the onion around for about 3-5 minutes in the oil. You want to cook the onion until it gets transluscent (or turns from white to clearish white). Keep stirring and don’t let it brown. Or have a Mr. Wonderful stir while you chop the next ingredient…but I swear he did this ALL by himself!
While that’s cooking, take your 3 garlic cloves and give them a smash on your cutting board. Finely chop your garlic and throw it into a pot. Saute’ that for another minute more. Garlic becomes bitter if you cook it too long so be careful not to burn it!
After a minute of stirring the garlic, you will now make a roux (pronounced roo, like Winnie-the- Pooh’s friend). To do so, add a little more oil – 3 T. A good roux is made by adding equal parts of fat and flour. So now dump in 3 T. flour. Start mixing with your whisk and stir for about 3-5 minutes. This will cook out the “flour taste” and brown your roux nicely. If you want thicker soup next time, bump your oil and flour up to 4 or 5 T.
Our roux is browning nicely! Now dump in your 1/2 and 1/2 a little at a time, stirring and letting it almost boil and thicken. Did you know they make fat free 1/2 and 1/2 now? It’s not bad. Or if you’re feeling very naughty, use heavy whipping cream (not in a spray can, the real liquid stuff in the milk section!). In heaven, we’ll be able to eat all the cream we want! Turn up your heat and let it come to a soft boil. It should start to thicken up from your roux. Continue to add your 4 cups of milk now, a cup at a time until it begins to boil and thicken. Also, add your 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock.
Now chop up your potatoes, skin and all, into bite size cubes (you can take it off it bothers you). We made ours bigger and heartier chunks, but you can make them any size you want!! Dump them into your pot. And please be as careful as Mr. Wonderful was…don’t let 5 or 6 fall onto the stove or floor like I usually do!
Now you need to cube up an entire block of cream cheese, take your pick – there is the full fat version, the 1/3 fat version or fat free. We usually use the 1/3 fat. It really is pretty good. Dump your cream cheese cubes into the pot and stir until it gets all melty and mixes into the soup. Add 2 t. of salt and 1 t. pepper. Taste and adjust your seasoning according to your pleasure. Due to the potatoes and milk, I added a little more of both.
Now ladle your soupy goodness into some lovely mugs or bowls. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits and chopped green onions. The weather just can’t get you down when you have this wonderful soup to soothe your wounded spring soul!
5 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
3 T. flour
2 c. 1/2 & 1/2
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
4 cups milk
4-6 baked potatoes
one 8 oz. cream cheese
shredded cheddar cheese
In a soup kettle or dutch oven, heat 2 T. olive oil on medium heat. Add your onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes until transcluscent. Add chopped garlic. Stir for about a minute. Add 3 T. oil and 3 T. flour to make a roux. Stir 3-5 minutes until it begins to brown. Begin adding 1/2 and 1/2 a little at a time and allow it to thicken. Now add milk a little at a time, allowing it to thicken. Do the same with the chicken broth. Chop up your potatoes and dump them in the pot. Cube up your cream cheese and add it, stirring until melted and mixed in. Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust your seasonings. Pour into bowls. Top with shredded cheese, bacon and green onions! Enjoy!
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