WELCOME GARDNER NEWS READERS
Here I go … out on a limb … to declare this to be the best potato soup I have ever made. And the crazy thing is, this recipe comes from my sister, Denise, whose culinary repertoire includes exactly three items: lasagna, apple pie and this Cream Cheese Potato Soup. A pot of her potato heaven made its debut with the family on Christmas Eve a few years back, when she served it alongside ham sandwiches.
Because cream based soups are so luxurious, many people may believe them to be labor intensive and exhausting. It has been my experience, that soup making is actually a most relaxing cooking task. Gather a bunch of quality ingredients, artfully place them in a pot in just the right order and simmer low and slow til the flavors marry.
The foundation for this soup is the combination of baked potato, milk and mild green onions sautéed in butter. The next layer of flavor is created with the addition of cream cheese and grated parmesan. Most recipes could stop here with a perfectly tasty soup, but this one goes one step further with a final flourish … crispy pieces of bacon.
This soup recipe may be simple to prepare, but it “shouts” to your family and friends that you really know your way around the kitchen!
DENISE’S CREAM CHEESE POTATO SOUP
Creator unknown … she says she got it from someone at work!
Makes 6-8 servings
4-5 medium potatoes, baked (microwave ok), peeled and cube
6 strips bacon, crisp and crumbled
6 Tablespoons finely chopped green onion
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour (rounded tablespoons)
1 ½ cups water
3 cups milk
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, cubed and softened
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional green onion and crispy bacon for garnish
Bake potatoes. (Microwave works well too. Saves valuable time.) Cool, peel, cube and set aside.
While preparing potatoes, cook bacon til crispy. Cool, crumble and set aside. (If you have made additional for garnish set aside separately.)
Over medium heat, sauté green onions in butter, stirring to avoid burning. (Make sure you use both the white and green part of the green onion. I like to slice across several green onions at once making my cuts close to each other to form small pieces of onion. I use a wooden spoon to stir the onions and butter.) Add flour and whisk (Yes, you will have to dirty another cooking utensil.) constantly for about 2 minutes to insure the flour has cooked. (If you do not let the flour cook out a bit you can end up with a “floury” taste in your soup base that you do not want.) Next, while whisking, add water gradually. Whisk well then add the milk and cream cheese. (The mixture may look a bit curdled at this point. No worries … it is just the cream cheese breaking up and melting. ) Continue to mix with the whisk until smooth. Mixture will thicken.
Reduce heat to medium low (the key is not to let the soup boil … just simmer) and add parmesan cheese, potatoes and bacon. (At this point, when you stir the soup be very gentle. You do not want to squish the potatoes! Again I use my trusty wooden spoon.) Add salt and pepper to taste. (White pepper is nice to use with this soup.) Simmer – do not boil. Garnish with reserved green onion and crispy bacon.
ATTENTION ALL GARDNER NEWS READERS :
November 15 is National Bundt Cake Day
Email me (by 11-19 — we will have a belated celebration)) your favorite bundt cake recipe and tell me the story of your bundt! I will choose my 3 favorite recipes to bake and test. (Sorry Mom, you cannot enter.) The winner and their recipe will be featured in one of my upcoming columns. Heck, we could even bake together at your house and mess up your kitchen instead of mine!