March 17, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


Happy St. Patrick's Day! With the first day of spring three days away and a fresh layer of snow this morning, nothing sounds better than an easy Crock Pot meal. Potatoes, cheese, creamy soup, Crock Pot... need I say more?!
Recipe adapted from The Chic Table.
Yield: 4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into half-inch chunks
  • 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For Serving:
  • Green onions, for serving
  • Sour cream (I substituted plain Greek yogurt)
  • Additional shredded sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; transfer cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  2. Keep enough bacon fat to coat the bottom of the pan and discard rest. You will want to keep the burnt bits in the pan as they will provide the onions with a lot of flavor.
  3. Add minced garlic to the skillet with the bacon fat and cook for 15-20 seconds, until fragrant. Add onions and thyme. Cook until onions have softened. *Note: For vegetarian option, cook the garlic and onions in vegetable oil or olive oil.
  4. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for about one minute, then slowly add 1 cup of chicken broth. Stir to combine. Transfer onion mixture (including all the browned bacon bits from pan) into your Crock Pot.
  5. Add cut potatoes into the Crock Pot, followed by the remaining chicken broth. Cover Crock Pot with lid and set to cook on Low heat for 4-5 hours. *Note: For vegetarian option, use vegetable broth. 
  6. Keep Crock Pot on “keep warm” setting. Once potatoes are soft and tender, scoop out 3 cups of potato and place in a large bowl; mash using a fork (spoon or muddler work too). Add milk and cream. Stir to combine. Return mixture to Crock Pot. 
  7. Add shredded cheese to Crock Pot; stir to distribute. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes until cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Sample and season more according to taste.
  8. Serve with your favorite toppings that you like on a baked potato and enjoy :)




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