10 February 2011

Double Take: Baked Potato Soup

Potatoes in milk. Blah.

This week we bid farewell to the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Tabitha and I have both been having trouble finding tasters. Some of Tabitha’s tasters have flat-out said no more SLC. So, we have decided that it is time to shake things up a bit. It is quite possible that we will pull out this, er, not-so-trusty
book every once and a while, but for now we are going to move onto other sources for our recipes. The majority will come from the blogs we love, but we will also turn to cookbooks and TV shows for inspiration. If you have a recipe you’d love to see us feature, please let us know!

But for now, one last SLC recipe: Baked Potato Soup. With as cold as December was, January and February have been relatively mild here in Germany (knock on wood). I have actually seen the ground… something I was unable to do for two months last year. I have gone outside with only two layers on instead of three! But it’s still chilly here, so soup is still a nice, warming meal. And what could be better that baked potato soup? I must confess, the first time I had potato soup I fell in love. O’Charley’s had the most wonderful Over-Loaded Potato Soup (though for some reason I remember it being called Loaded Potato Soup). In fact, this soup kinda converted me from an I’ll-take-the-salad-when-offered-soup-or-salad girl to an I’ll-take-the-soup girl. Served with their melt-in-your-mouth yeast rolls, I was in carb heaven. I must say that over the years the quality at O’Charley’s has definitely taken a turn for the worse. For that reason, I haven’t been there in probably five years. But I will always remember their glorious soup back when it was still good.

I was thinking about soup when I read the recipe for this one, but it was pretty obvious that the two soups would not be the same. And well, I was right. I cannot decide exactly what it was about this recipe that went wrong. Perhaps the potato itself? The recipe calls for five large baking potatoes, but does not give a weight equivalent. And well, large is quite subjective. The first time I met Bender’s parents I was served a baked potato. It was the smallest baked potato I’d ever been served. And Bender and his father both commented on how large it was. So yeah, large is subjective. I cut the recipe in half and baked seven largish German potatoes, thinking that might come close to the amount of potato from two and a half American baking potatoes. I think I didn’t come anywhere close to where I should have been.

Baked Potato Soup
from the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, also available online here

Tip from SLC: To bake potatoes in the microwave, prick each several times with a fork. Microwave 1 inch apart on paper towels at HIGH 14 minutes or until done, turning and rearranging after 5 minutes. Let cool. (The problem with baking potatoes in the microwave? Well, you’ve got to have a microwave. I went the oven route.)

Yield: Makes 12 cups

5 large baking potatoes, baked
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped (I used 1 tsp of onion powder instead)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1 quart half-and-half
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper (I used black)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
8 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Peel potatoes, and coarsely mash with a fork.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, and sauté until tender. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Stir in potatoes, half-and-half, and next 3 ingredients; cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. Top each serving with cheese and bacon.

Whilst cooking: huh, that looks and smells like potatoes in milk.
Whilst tasting: huh, that tastes like potatoes in milk. I’ll add some onion powder.
Whilst re-tasting: huh, that’s a little bit better, but it still tastes like potatoes in milk. I’ll add some garlic powder.
Whilst eating: huh, this tastes like potatoes in milk, even when bacon, green onions, and cheddar cheese is added. I’ll add salt and pepper.
Whilst still trying to redeem the soup: I’ll add some broccoli to see if that helps reduce the potatoes in milk taste.
Whilst re-tasting: Nope. It’s still potatoes in milk.  

I have a very good idea on what I’d do differently, but that will be a different post. But I must say, this recipe has confirmed my thoughts that it’s time to leave this cookbook behind.

When in doubt, add more stuff. Or better yet, just eat a baked potato!

I’ll-take-a-baked-potato-over-this-soup-any-day: 2 votes

To see Tabitha’s take on Baked Potato Soup, head on over to Double the Garlic!


  1. There's a big contrast in textures between the two soups we made. It seems the amount of potatoes may have played a large role. Mine was so thick that on reheating I could and did eat it from a plate like mashed potatoes. It wasn't as thick as mashed potatoes but still notably able to be eaten off a plate. Maybe weights would be more helpful for people preparing this soup in the future. My mom uses a certain cup when measuring potatoes for consistency between preparations of a dish. Its tall and allows her to have a good gauge since potatoes vary greatly in size.

  2. This soup definitely reminds me of the pumpkin soup: yours was incredibly thick and mine was incredibly thin. Am I just incapable of making a thick soup??

    I think part of this issue is that night I really did not want to make the soup. I just couldn't get excited about it. Maybe I was missing the all-important secret ingredient: interest!


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