Soup Season

Anonymous
Categories: Food & Dining

January 2021: I always think of January as the perfect month for making soup since the weather is chilly, and soup warms the body and soul. This January, however, I’ll be spending most of my time in Mexico where the weather is pleasantly warm. I’ll be studying different Mexican cuisines around the country, and I’m sure soup will be on at least one of my cooking agendas.

I’ve already made a lot of soup this winter, and one of my favorite ways to make it is in the blender. In my cooking classes, I’ve taught an entire lesson on blender soups and the ease of making them using whatever vegetables you prefer. Surprisingly, carrot soup is a crowd favorite, but my personal favorite is potato. All you have to do is boil or roast your vegetables, whether it’s carrots, squash, asparagus, broccoli, or potatoes. To add more flavor, sauté your choice of aromatics, such as onion, garlic, chiles, ginger, and leeks. You can keep adding flavors with herbs, spices, butter, and cream. Then blend it all together in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth, and you’ve created a soup that perfectly suits you. Don’t forget to season it with salt, which is an entirely different class I teach!

I’m sharing my recipe for loaded baked potato soup, which is potato soup made in the blender, loaded with some of my favorite toppings. I made this a lot in college and learned from my roommates that cheese and sour cream aren’t the only toppings for a potato. One girl taught me that her family used chopped tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, and boiled eggs to load their potatoes, and I’ve become a fan. In my family, you could never add enough butter (actually margarine because my mom thought butter was fattening), which is why I use a half stick of butter in my potato soup. Feel free to add more; just don’t use margarine because it’s no substitute, despite my mother’s wisdom.

Whether we have a cold or balmy winter in Oklahoma, soup will still be simmering on my stove. When I return from Mexico, I have a feeling my soups will be a bit spicier and topped with fried tortillas. I’ll have a whole new repertoire of recipes to share, both on my website and my cooking classes, which will resume at the end of January. You can read more about my travels, classes, and recipes at chefshannon.com.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Serves 4 - Potato soup is one of the easiest soups to make, and I because I love a loaded baked potato, I make my soup with all the toppings I would use on a loaded baked potato, including cheese, bacon, and chives. If that isn’t enough, I add chopped tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream. The soup takes just 30 minutes to make, and uses just one pan if you use an immersion blender. I recommend making a double recipe since it reheats easily and makes great leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    Toppings:

  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • 4 strips bacon, cooked until crispy, chopped

  • 1/4 cup chives, minced

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook one minute. Pour in broth and milk, and add potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and insert an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth, then return to the saucepan. Re-heat soup if needed, then ladle into bowls. Top with cheese, bacon, and chives and serve.

 

See More about Soup Season:

https://www.valuenews.com/soup-season-news-article_5203

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