Friday, February 8, 2013

Potato Perfection

Growing up, I was never a fan of potato soup. I'm not even really sure why I didn't like it, I just know I didn't. Back in the fall, I was in a pinch for a quick supper and stumbled across a basic potato soup in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I put it together and, low and behold, really liked it. I didn't give it another thought until I was flipping through some Cooking Light magazines and pulled out two more potato soup recipes. We have only tried one so far, but it was so good I don't know if I need to ever bother with the other.

Loaded Potato Soup
from Cooking Light, November 2012

4 (6-ounce) red potatoes (I didn't have red ones so I just used what I had on hand)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth (I used our homemade chicken stock)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided (I used skim milk)
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 bacon slices, halved
about 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions (didn't have these on hand so I skipped them; I bet you could use chives too)

1. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave at high 13 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cut potatoes in half; cool slightly. (I just realized as I typed this that I never cut my potatoes in half to cool. No wonder they were so stinkin' hot to handle when I tried to get the skins off. Read the directions, Tara...)

2. While the potatoes cook, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth to pan. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl, stirring until smooth; add flour mixture to pan with remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring soup to boil, stirring frequently. Cook 1 minute. Remove soup from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.

3. Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with another paper towel; microwave at high 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.

4. Discard potato skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup. Top with shredded cheese, green onions, and crumbled bacon.

You'll notice that the recipes from Cooking Light call for low-, reduced-, and fat-free ingredients much of the time. It is Cooking Light, after all. I tend to buy fat free sour cream and keep skim milk on hand, and I think the recipes have plenty of flavor with the healthier ingredients. I wouldn't hesitate to use full fat, full flavor ingredients though if that's what I had around.

Bert put up a little fuss over this initially, maybe because he had no idea what was in his bowl for supper. Once I got him to try a bite, he devoured it. Bonus: it was nice and thick so it actually stayed on his spoon instead of just sliding off.

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