Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe

B and I have been eating a low-carb (read = paleo diet) menu for quite some time.  First, we are not fanatical about it.  If we want to eat pizza today, we will.  However, we've been trying to consciously reduce our sugar intake.  We've converted to a more organic diet than I ever thought I could afford.  Thank you Trader Joe's.

To sidetrack, we have also both been involved in a pretty rigorous physical training schedule.  B is running...something I just can't bring myself to do now that my beloved Chancey has developed arthritis.  I have been working pretty hard doing the Insanity work-outs.  If you need an intense cardio-tone-your-body work-out, please invest.  You won't be sorry, and yes, you will be on the floor sweating, breathing so deep, you want to explode...it's awesome!  I can't say enough about how life-altering this workout is.  And it's short--usually I am done well within one hour. 

Moving on, yesterday was a particularly cool, rainy day.  B was home (YAY! small victories), and we were carb-starved.  We decided that we would really enjoy some potato soup.  Not wanting to dig through my folder of recipes, yet to be organized, I did what is routine for us when searching for something good to eat,  Hello Google.  Type in potato soup, and you'll get this response.  I give credit to the 4th link down the page, AllRecipes.com, for giving me Baked Potato Soup V.

Credit:  Dianne, Baked Potato Soup V
However, as I read the recipe, "did that really just call for nine (9) large baking potatoes?", my eyes started to bug out of my head and I almost fell into a pre-carb coma!   Ok, so I modified it a bit.  If you don't want to try and read my recipe (read=babbling) while cooking, refer to the link and use my measurements.  My recipe is this:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

2 Large baking potatoes (roughly 2 pounds)
Raw Bacon (however much you like, and preferably uncured)
1/4 c bacon drippings (you can also use 1/4 c butter--use real butter)
1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 c skim organic milk (set this out at least 30 minutes prior to the soup-making part)
salt (I pour it in the palm of my hand until I see enough, then dump in soup)
Bacon Pieces crumbled (however much you like, leave some for topping)
Green onions chopped (I put 5 or 6 in and reserved a cup for topping)
Shredded Sharp Cheddar (again, a handful, no measuring, leave some for topping)
Sour cream (real, no nonfat here, that only adds carbs, I've learned)--a dallop
Crutons (we make our own, instructions below)

Wash potatoes.  Preheat oven to 400.  Place potatoes on aluminum foil.  Cover with olive oil and sea salt, wrap.  Place in oven; bake until soft (took mine 1.5 hours).  Remove and unwrap.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Then slice in half.  Allow to sit another 5 minutes.  Skin potatoes and mash the potatoes slightly. 

Sometime while the potatoes are cooking, cook bacon...have I ever told you how delicious bacon is baked in the oven at 400F, 20 minutes if it's cured, 10 if uncured. Mmmmmmm, and you don't have to clean up a huge mess later.  Fortunately, we have two ovens, so we can cook bacon in one, and potatoes in another, or whatever.  Regardless, cook bacon.

Take a saucepan, large enough to accommodate 6 cups, and add bacon grease drippings 1/4 c.  If you use butter, allow it to melt and simmer before adding the flour.  Next add 1/4 c flour.  Stir this with a wisk for approximately 1 minute.  Then add milk with stirring, 1 cup or so at a time.  I don't really measure, I just pour.  You're making a roux, and you don't want to add too much liquid at once, or it breaks the roux.   Once the mixture is consistent (free of as many lumps as possible) and starting to look like it will boil, add more milk.  Repeat this until you have added all the milk.  Bring just to a boil, and reduce the heat.  I use stainless steel, so I can almost turn off my stove eye at this point.  Bottom line is do not continue to boil the mixture!  Now, add bacon pieces, green onions, cheddar cheese, and potatoes.  Stir.  Allow about 15 minutes or so (I don't time very well either), and then add your dallop of Daisy (I love saying that...yes, I'm singing).  For those of you that don't know, dallop of Daisy=sour cream.  Dallop=what my big wooden spoon will scoop out of the container.  Dissolve the sour cream.  Your soup is ready to serve.

We have one of those nice stainless ladles.  Two ladles (more than enough) is one bowl for us.  The entire batch made 5 bowls.  Yay for leftovers.  Top with bacon, green onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream, crutons, pepper, more salt, whatever you like at this point.  Bon appetit!

Homemade Crutons (credit:  Gina Underwood)

Disclaimer:  I've altered whatever she told me to do to fit what I have on-hand...

Cut a few slices of bread into squares.
Toss with any of the following (or whatever you like):  olive oil, butter (liquified), Italian seasoning, garlic salt, McCormick Garlic Bread Sprinkle--heaven, roasted garlic...

Place on baking sheet.  Bake in oven at 375-400ish (can't recall, so I just used 400 today, since everything else was happy cooking at that) for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Today, I used Texas toast from the freezer from a few months ago (yes, it's old, now you know what I do with old bread, sans mold), olive oil, garlic bread sprinkle. 

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