Baked Potato Soup (Light version)
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The Aroma of Baked Potatoes in a Tasty Soup
Baked Potato Soup at Claimjumper was one of my favorite dinners out when I lived in Southern California. It was rich, cheesy, and delicious, no doubt very high in calories. It's exceptionally good. The baked potatoes give it a special aroma and flavor that makes it distinctive from a regular potato soup.
Once I moved from Southern California, I was craving a bowl, so decided to make the soup myself, in a lighter, healthier version.
It is lighter, though you wouldn't know it by looking at it--or tasting it. I use 1% milk, low-fat shredded cheese, low-fat sour cream, and Applewood turkey bacon. Not only is turkey bacon lower in fat and calories, but this brand is preservative free. It doesn't keep as long as regular bacon, but it's worth it to avoid the nitrates, etc.
Since I did not want the soup to be thin or runny, I started with 5 cups of milk. But the soup comes out very thick. It definitely needed all 6 cups of milk. You can cook the potatoes earlier, even the day before, if you want to cut the preparation time the day you make it.
The Garnishes Add to the Flavor
One of my favorite parts of the soup was the garnish of thinly sliced, crisp potato skins sprinkled on the soup, so I used some of the skins to create my own. Slice them as thin as you can for the best results.
Vegetarian? Leave off the bacon. It's only used as a garnish in this recipe.
The soup freezes well too. I thawed and heated it, some in the microwave, some on the stove, to test both methods. Both work as long as you stir thoroughly (don't let it boil). It still tasted great.
You'll find Baked Potato Soup very filling, not to mention warming. When the weather starts to cool, it will taste even more satisfying. Serve it with a salad or simply with a roll or crackers. It is wonderful in a bread bowl.
Once Potatoes are Baked...
- 4 large baking potatoes
- 2/3 cup flour
- 6 cups 1% milk (2% okay too)
- 1 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (I used Applewood no preservative turkey bacon)
- Spray olive oil (for potato skin garnish)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Pierce potatoes with fork, then bake at 425 degrees for an hour or until cooked through. Let cool.
- Cut potatoes in half, scoop out as much potato as possible, then mash coarsely. Set aside potato skins.
- Pour flour into a dutch oven. Gradually stir in milk with a whisk.
- Cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken and bubble (8 to 12 minutes).
- Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper.
- Stir until cheese melts, then remove from heat.
- Stir in sour cream and 3/4 cup of the onions. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Do not let it boil.
- When serving, top with chopped green onion, some crumbled bacon, cheese and the potato strips as you like.
- POTATO SKINS:
- Slice some of the potato skins into very thin strips. The thinner you can get them the better.
- Spread out on a baking pan (I used parchment paper on mine), then spray lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are crisp.
- When ready to serve soup, sprinkle the potato skins on top for garnishing. They add a great flavor!
Mash the Potatoes Like This
You'll need a big pot, and Calphalon is a great choice. It cooks so evenly, and seems to stick far less often than other pots I've used.
Garnishing Your Soup
There are so many delicious ways to garnish this soup. I combined several of my favorites here in this recipe, but you can adapt it as you like.
- Bacon bits or slices
- Grated Cheese
- Thinly sliced potato skins
- Sliced or chopped green onion
- Chopped parsley
Actually, any of your favorite vegetables can be sprinkled on top. They add color and appeal to the soup.
Crisp Potato Skin Slices
Blend AND Cook Soup Maker
This amazing blender will sauté, and blend then keep soup warm for you. Can't make it much easier! Oh, and you can crush ice with it or make smoothies too! I love multi-function appliances.