I think I first fell in love with baked potato soup when I went to Houlihans on a cold evening and ordered it. It was thick, hearty and full of flavor and just the type of comfort food needed for cold fall and winter nights. From that day forward I have been tinkering with the soup to get it just the way I like it. Of course, being that I am trying to feed the family healthier foods now, I had to find a way to cut down on some of the fat. I finally came up with the perfect combination of taste and healthy. OK, maybe not too healthy since I couldn’t give up my good cheese, but it’s close!
Healthier alternatives: I did use a fat free half & half but you could also use a mixture of tofu and unflavored soy milk or 3/4 cup skim milk and 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch. In the cheese department, using a low-fat cheese would also be a good substitute. As for the bacon, nothing takes the place of real bacon but you could substitute turkey bacon or leave it out altogether.
This baked potato soup comes out a little chunky with the extra vegetables and pieces of potato, seems a little more substantial that way but, if you want it smoother, just put it in a blender, and voila, creamier soup!
Baked Potato Soup
- 4 cups potatoes, unpeeled and cut into cubes
- 1-3/4 cup chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used for vegetarian diets)
- 3/4 cup fat free half & half
- 3/4 cup milk (can also use almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
- 2 Tablespoons flour or 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (use if gluten-free)
- 1-1/4 cups cheddar cheese, grated (1/2 cup for soup, 3/4 cup as garnish)
- 8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled, reserve fat (2 pcs bacon for soup, 6 pcs bacon for garnish)
- Garnish: chopped green onions, cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon
Place potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Cook for 10 minutes then drain in colander.
In medium-sized bowl, mix together chicken broth, half & half, milk, basil, sriracha sauce and salt & pepper. Set aside.
In same large saucepan, melt butter and saute onions and celery over medium heat until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the flour or cornstarch and whisk until well incorporated. Slowly whisk in chicken broth mixture, stirring constantly until mixture becomes slightly thick. Add 1/2 cup cheese, 2 pieces crumbled bacon and about 2 tablespoons bacon fat (this is optional). Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, mash the potatoes in the soup for a smoother consistency.
To serve: Place soup in bowls and garnish with some cheddar cheese, bacon bits and chopped green onions. Serve hot.