Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Candid Cook: Potato Skin Soup (Loaded)

Confession: I was finally sucked into Pinterest by the promise of recipes.  It is fast becoming my giant recipe box floating in cyberspace. AND, it gives me an excuse to take the iPad from the kids while I'm making dinner because I need look up what I'm cooking on Pinterest.  Which leads me to last week when I needed to fix a meal on the fly.  But not just any meal.  A meal that could be both vegetarian for Olivia's friend who was over, and had some sort of meat to satisfy my manly-man husband.  Since I had a few strips of bacon in freezer left over from another meal, potatoes in the cupboard and, and sour cream in the fridge I started looking for a potato soup recipe.  If it has bacon in it, Ben will eat it.  If it has both bacon AND cheese in it, he will probably love it.  

I had to tweak the recipe a little since I wasn't going shopping before cooking and wanted to use the ingredients I had on hand.  I also needed to make it vegetarian except for the bacon part.  I loved my finished product so much that I wanted to save it - hence this blog post.  I don't want to "Pin" the other recipe - I want to pin MY recipe that I loved so much.  And to give credit where credit is due, here is the post with the original recipe that I doctored. And by the way, I also renamed it for the single item that I loved the most about the entire recipe: the crispy potato skin garnish.

Tater Skin Soup (Loaded)
(Serves about 4)

3 medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled and chopped
   ***Be sure to keep the peels from 2 of those potatoes!!
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
4 c. chicken broth or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 cup sour cream
2 oz. Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or blend
Salt/pepper to taste
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Peel your potatoes.  Reserve the skins from 2 of the potatoes, and chop into small bits.  Then, melt butter over medium in a large skillet with a lid.  Add the chopped potato skins and cook about 8 minutes until browned and crisp.  

Tip: Try not get impatient and turn up the heat to "high" to make the skins cook faster.  It'll scorch the butter and give you little black bits in the pan.  Just sayin'.

When the potato skins are done, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to cool and absorb the excess butter. Pour out your scorched leftover butter, but do not wipe out the pan.  You'll need that little bit of grease to finish the job.

Add your onions to the pan and cook a few minutes till they are tender and starting to get translucent.  Then add your flour and mix together.  This is why you need the butter - to soak up the flour bits so you can make the soup base.

Slowly add the chicken or vegetable stock to your onion mixture and continue cooking over medium heat.

Add the diced potatoes to the broth and cook for about 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Put the lid on the skillet to help it cook faster, but be sure to leave it cracked and don't go far, or you might have a mess on your hands. If you chopped your spuds into larger chunks, this may take a little longer.

While I waited for this step, I started crisping the bacon on the other burner.  See how efficient I am?

Try not to snack on the crispy tater skins while you're waiting.  You'll want those for your soup.

When the potatoes are tender enough, take about 1/2 of the mixture and puree it in a blender.  You can see here that I have left a bunch of potato chunks and broth in the pan.  That's because Ben won't eat soup unless he can chew it.  I think it's a man thing.

Then, in a separate bowl, mix together your sour cream and cream cheese.

Add about 1 cup of the pureed soup and combine.

Finally, dump the puree and sour cream mixture into the skillet, add the shredded cheese, and stir it all up together. You are almost ready to eat.  Which is good because I know you're probably starving by now.

To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and garnish with the crispy potato skins, crumbled bacon, and an extra pinch of cheese.

Eat it up, and try not to moan with delight.  It annoys the children.

Yep, it's that good.

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