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Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Riley Wofford
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins
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Chef notes

Enjoy the best of both worlds with this recipe — light and creamy potato leek soup joins forces with baked potato skins that are loaded to the brim with all the fixings. The soup itself is so easy to make — sliced onions and leeks are sautéed in bacon fat, then simmered in broth along with plenty of potatoes. That mixture is then blended with heavy cream and a generous handful of sharp cheddar cheese to make a silky smooth soup.

While the soup is delicious, the toppings are what’s really important. Top the soup with ingredients that you’d normally find in loaded potatoes such as crispy bacon bits, thinly sliced scallions and even more cheddar cheese. And what would a loaded potato skin be without the potato skins themselves? Rather than throwing out the potato peels,  they can be easily (and deliciously) be repurposed for this recipe. Fry them until  crispy and sprinkle over the top of the creamy soup for  a brand new texture. 

A few tips to keep in mind when making this recipe: You can keep the soup vegetarian-friendly by omitting the bacon altogether. Just use one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to sauté the onions and leeks instead of the bacon fat. Freeze  the dark green tops of the leeks and use them later with other vegetable scraps to make homemade stock.

Technique Tip: Leeks tend to get pretty dirty. Once you’ve sliced them, slosh them around in a big bowl of water to release any grit that’s stuck between the layers. You may need to wash them more than once to get them clean.

Swap Option: To make this soup less rich, you can use half-and-half instead of heavy cream. 

 

Ingredients

  • pounds russet potatoes (4-5 medium)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 ounces bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
  • thinly sliced scallions, for serving
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Preparation

1.

Peel the potatoes and transfer the potato skins to a few layers of paper towels. Pat the peels as dry as possible. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces, transfer to a large bowl and cover completely with water.

2.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, fry the potato skins, stirring occasionally, until crisp, golden and curled, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

3.

In a large, deep saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease and return the pot to medium heat. Add the butter, leeks and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add to the pot, along with the broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Discard the thyme, then let the soup cool for 5 minutes.

4.

Transfer the soup to a blender and purée with the heavy cream and nutmeg until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan over low heat. Slowly add the cheese, stirring after each addition until the cheese is melted. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

5.

To serve, top each bowl of soup with the reserved bacon, crispy potato skins, scallions and more cheese.