Loaded Potato Soup

Like much of the United States, New Hampshire is made up of immigrants.  The biggest migration of immigrants came during the industrial revolution to work in the textile mills.  Most were from Canada (French decedents) and Ireland.  Needless to say, poverty was more common than not and people made do with what they had.

Late summer crops are typically of the root vegetable type around here and the Potato, a staple brought over from Europe, was a great source of nutrients for the money.  So, it’s no surprise that as the temperatures begin to fall, people start pulling out their favorite potato soup recipe.

This weekend I did a little research on my own and was surprised at the variety of potato soup recipes available.  I ended up with a recipe from the Betty Crocker website and just modified it slightly to my own tastes.

My Notes:

I am not the biggest pork enthusiast, so I skipped the ham. I didn’t pick this recipe for its health benefits (clearly), but no sense in making it worse by having bacon AND ham.

To save time, I took some of the bacon grease as I was cooking the bacon and sautéed the onion in the Dutch oven instead.  I did use the skillet for the cream base.

I followed the recipe for everything else. I have to say the bacon gave the soup a great flavor and the sour cream and cheddar cheese made it really creamy.  The onion and green onions are also a must.

This made a huge batch, but even though it is just my boyfriend and I, I think we will finish most of it off.  It’s great as a meal in itself or pair it with a sandwich or salad.  It is full of flavor and a perfect dish when you are craving that “comfort food.”

And don’t forget to look for locally sourced foods such as potatoes, onions, fresh milk and even the bacon.  It will make your recipe that much better.

Here is the recipe:

1 package (12 oz) bacon

1 ½ cups chopped onion

6 cups Progresso™ chicken broth (from two 32-oz cartons)

2lb baking potatoes, peeled, cubed

2/3 cup butter

¾ cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup diced cooked ham

1 container (8 oz) sour cream

2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (10 oz)

¾ cup sliced green onions

In 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 6 to 7 minutes or until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon; set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Cook onion in bacon drippings over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until almost tender.

In 6-quart Dutch oven, mix onion, broth and potatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

Meanwhile, in same skillet, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour with whisk until smooth. Cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in 2 cups of the milk. Pour milk mixture into potato mixture. Add remaining 2 cups milk, the salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with whisk, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Stir in ham, half of the bacon, the sour cream, 2 cups of the cheese and 1/2 cup of the green onions. Cook until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Evenly top individual servings with remaining bacon, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/4 cup green onions.

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