I have tried numerous recipes in an attempt to get a decent potato soup with results ranging from “barely acceptable” to “inedible”. In frustration I decided that it had become necessary to create my own recipe from scratch, despite patchy and somewhat questionable experience in the kitchen. The results below are still a work in progress, but contain the ingredients list and instructions for my best work to date. This is not a low calorie dish and attempting to alter the recipe to make it so would, quite frankly, ruin the dish.
4 medium Russet potatoes (approx. 6 oz. each)
4 large Red potatoes (approx. 6 oz. each)
– intended results to be half Russet and half Red, regardless of size.
1 small onion, diced small
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced very small
6 – 8 tbsp. butter, divided
½ c. flour
½ gallon whole milk
1 ½ tbsp. “Better Than Bouillon” low sodium chicken base
8 oz. of cheddar, shredded and divided
1/3 lb. of bacon, diced
2 – 3 stalks green onion, chopped to preferred size
Scrub potatoes and, unless there are too many blemishes, leave skin on and dice potatoes into small (approx. ¼ – ½“) pieces.
Place potatoes in microwave safe bowl and microwave approx. 12 min.
– Note: Do not completely cook.
Toss onion and garlic in pan with 2 – 4 tbsp. butter and sauté until onions have reached clarified stage.
Melt 4 tbsp. butter in soup pot and add flour to make a rue.
– Note: Make sure to brown the rue or you will get flour paste instead.
Add milk half at a time and whisk to destroy rue lumps.
– Note: This is not intended to be super thick, like wallpaper paste, but thinner, like a thick broth.
While your base thickens and you are combining the soup, cook bacon in fresh pan until crispy.
Drain, reserve bacon grease if desired, and set bacon crisps to one side.
Add chicken base, then onions and potatoes.
Allow soup to come back to simmer, then add ½ of the cheese to the pot.
Once everything is fully integrated soup is ready to serve.
Dish out a bowl and garnish with some each of the bacon crisps, remaining cheddar and green onion.
Yield: Enough to feed a small army.
I have found that adding the bacon upon serving is the best way to prevent soggy, chewy bacon, and use the chicken base to flavor the soup itself. The instructions on the chicken base indicate that I’m only using about half as much base as I should be using, and I may change that later, but right now I think the current amount is fine.
The soup is not a finished product, but I can’t quite decide what it’s missing yet. Jan has suggested the addition of white pepper during cooking, and I think he might be right. I’m just not sure if white pepper is all that the soup is missing.
All told though, I’m really proud of this recipe and how far it has come from the nasty stuff I was making before.
Having tried this recipe several times I would like to make some fresh notes.
First: always make sure the potatoes are completely cooked through before tossing them in the finishing soup. if you don’t it will be one of the single biggest reasons why the soup has failed.
make sure you have plenty of garlic. If your ratio of garlic to onion is off it really just won’t taste as good as it could.
Always make sure to drain the leftover butter from the garlic and onions. Tossing it in with the rest will make for a bitter and nasty soup.
It is perfectly safe to toss in 8oz of cheese into the pot and have more made for the topping. The extra cheese does not render the soup too cheesy, but does help with the thickening.
Patience is very much a virtue with this dish. If you cannot set aside three hours for chopping, dicing, cooking, sauteing and all around doing it with patience you will not have a very good soup at all. (In fact, some have been near inedible.)
The most recent batch had double the recipe request for “Better Than Boillon” at 3 tbsp. I like the flavor better, though it may have added too much salt.
In this most recent batch I tossed in 1 1/2 tsp of white pepper. When I added my old green onions to it I ended up with nothing but fire in my mouth. I am learning to appreciate some heat in my meal, but this was all I could taste. As there is a whole pot to be finished I will probably be skipping green onions this time around, but in the future I recommend only 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp of white pepper.
Even after the addition of the white pepper as well as the extra cheese, garlic and stock concentrate I feel that there is a missing note somewhere. I have yet to place my finger on it, but there is some seasoning that it is missing. Who can say?