Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Twice-Baked Potato Soup

As expected, we had an ice storm last night, and while we here in Durham didn't get hit as hard as places like Atlanta, still everything has come to a screeching halt.  Everything is blanketed with a quarter inch of ice and nobody is going anywhere today.

 Poor Tiki covered in ice...

 Sad frozen chiminea...

 That leaves me to play my favorite game... what can I make with the ingredients I have on hand?   Answer:  Twice-Baked Potato Soup.

This soup is a combination of two of my favorite things, creamy potato soup studded with chunks of ham, and a crispy stuffed potato skin loaded with bacon and cheese.  Hearty fare indeed that will guarantee a happy tummy on a cold and miserable day!

Twice-Baked Potato Soup
serves 8 very rich portions

4 large baking potatoes
olive oil

6 slices bacon
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
6 cups milk (with 1 additional cup in reserve if needed)
1. tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup diced ham
8 oz. sour cream (divided into two 4 oz. portions)

salt, pepper and garlic powder
8oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 scallions, finely chopped
hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F

Wash potatoes and dry with paper towels.  Rub each potato with a small amount of olive oil, then rub a pinch of salt over potato skin, pierce with a fork, and wrap in foil. Bake potatoes 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from oven (potatoes should be very tender), unwrap from foil and cut potatoes in half lengthwise.  Allow potatoes to cool for 30 minutes, then with a spoon, carefully scoop insides out of potato and place potato flesh in a medium sized bowl (they will be added to the soup later)  leaving a potato skin shell. Reserve potato skins for "garnish"

In a large pot, fry bacon over medium high heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pot and blot on paper towels. Reserve bacon fat in pot.  Once cool, crumble bacon and divide equally in two portions.

Over medium heat, add butter to rendered bacon fat and melt completely.  Add onion and garlic and saute until tender (about 5 minutes).  Add flour and stir to mix until smooth, cook 1 minute.  Add milk and stir with a whisk to dissolve flour evenly.  Add salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heating, whisking gently until soup thickens.  Once soup is thick, add grated cheese and stir until cheese is melted.  Add ham and scooped potatoes, sour cream, and 1/2 bacon, stir until incorporated.  If soup is too thick add additional milk. 

Preheat Broiler.

Lightly season the reserved potato skins with salt, pepper and garlic powder. divide grated cheddar evenly among potato skins.  Top with reserved crumbled bacon.  Optional: Drizzle hot sauce over top of each potato.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil and place directly under the broiler. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut each potato in half. 

Ladle hot soup into soup bowls and garnish with chopped scallions.  Garnish with prepared potato skins.

1 comment:

  1. This is a bit of a pain to make...but the end result is AH-MAZING. HIGHLY recommend it!