I’ve made this comfort soup a few times this winter. The first time was for my daughter’s birthday. It was a big hit, so I’ve made it for a couple of other occasions. When it’s cold and blustery outside, put this soup on and it will warm you from the inside out!
- 8 slices of bacon or pancetta cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 large onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp of dried thyme or 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken or vegetable broth at room temperature
- 1 cup water, room temperature or slightly warmed
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (or a combination of sweet and red or even squash)
- 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup heavy cream, ½-n-1/2, or whole milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: chopped scallions or green onions to garnish
- You can use a dutch oven for entire process or you can brown bacon, onion, and garlic in a skillet, then transfer to a crock pot for the rest.
- Crisp bacon on stove top or in microwave oven (If using micro, use a paper plates with a thick layer of paper towels. Place bacon on top of paper towel, cover with a paper towel, and cook on high until crisp. May take 2-4 minutes depending on your microwave oven.)
- Allow bacon to cool.
- Cook onion and garlic until soft. If transferring to a crock pot, use a large skillet on medium heat (if you used stove top to crisp bacon, you can use same pan and drain all but 2 tablespoons of grease off).
- Once onion and garlic is softened, toss in the thyme or bay leaves.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and whisk for one minute.
- Add 1 cup of room temp or slightly warmed water to the mixture and whisk to incorporate. Continue whisking until all lumps are smooth and all bits are scraped from bottom of pan.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in 4 cups of broth and the potatoes. If using a crock pot, transfer before adding the broth and potatoes.
- Cover and cook until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Remove 2 cups of the soup to a bowl large enough to either mash or use an immersion blender to cream until smooth and set aside.
- Add 6 ounces of cheddar cheese to the crock pot or dutch oven. Stir until melted and fully incorporated.
- Add ¾ of the bacon pieces.
- Return the creamed/mashed potato mixture to the pot and add the heavy cream.
- Cover and allow to heat through.
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve in large shallow bowls garnished with remaining cheddar cheese and bacon. Add green onions or scallions if desired.
Use what you have in your pantry and refrigerator! You can vary the types of potatoes including sweet potatoes like I’ve done here.
I think it would be good with a cubed hard squash like butternut too. Top and season with all your favorite baked potato toppings. Of course, I also season with my fav Italian herbs. The sky’s the limit – use whatever your family loves.
Buon appetito 🙂