You may have noticed that restaurants which serve baked potatoes often have baked potato soup on the menu. This is not a coincidence. In many professional kitchens, baked potatoes are made well ahead of time and kept warm for service. At the end of the night, you regularly end up with a number of baked potatoes left over which can’t be reheated and served the next day. Baked potato soup was thus created to answer the question of what to do with all the leftover potatoes the next day.
While a soup made from old potatoes may not sound so appealing (no pun intended), the dish that sprang from this idea was a delicious twist on an old favorite. The good news is, you don’t have to use leftover potatoes to make this soup at home. You can bake a few fresh ones just for the occasion.
This recipe includes integrating the sour cream into the soup itself. This can be a tricky process as sour cream tends to curdle when heated. The sour cream must, therefore, be gently heated before being added to the soup. This is done by adding a little of the hot soup to the sour cream at a time in a process known as tempering.
What you will need:
2 potatoes, baked
3 strips of bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 quart chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 cup cream
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup chives, minced
Wash 2 baking potatoes and poke them several times with a fork to ventilate. Bake in 400 degree oven for 1 hour or until soft. Allow to cool and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
Brown the bacon in a medium sauce pot until crispy and remove with a slotted spoon. Add the onion, parsnip, and celery to the hot bacon fat and sweat until the onions become translucent. Add the chopped potato and the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Bundle the thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie with a piece of twine. Add the bundle to the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the spice bundle, pour the contents of the pot into a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a coarse sieve into a large sauce pot.
Dice the chilled baked potatoes carefully as they will tend to crumble easily. Add the potatoes, browned bacon pieces, and the cream to the soup and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and add the soup, a ladleful at a time, to the sour cream in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine until a quarter of the soup has been added. Stir the mix back into the pot and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve the soup topped with the cheddar cheese and chives.