Get a load of this potato soup

Baked potatoes are probably one of the most common side dishes served in a restaurant. For me, it seems that even if you load up the foil clad vegetable with gobs and gobs of butter and sour cream, cheese, bacon and whatever else you can find to stuff in there, the potato is still sort of lacking. But take all of those same components and combine them in a simmering pot on the stove and you have one wicked good recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup. 

This soup is guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy during these cold winter days and it's so delicious and filling that nothing else is really needed to make a full meal except for maybe a green salad.  Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato and Leek Soup

from Fine Cooking
Serves: 6

2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2-1/2 cups leeks, sliced and rinsed well (or 1 large onion, diced)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth (may need more for thinning soup)
2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
4 thick slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated and divided
2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 375.  Scrub potatoes in water, pat dry, and pierce several times with a fork.  Set them directly on an oven rack and bake until very tender when pierced with a fork , about 1 hour.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks (or onion) and garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the broth and water.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the leeks are tender, about 20 minutes. 

When the potatoes are cool, cut one of them in half lengthwise.  Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of each half.  Cut the flesh into 1/2" cubes and set aside.  Coarsely chop the potato skin and the rest of the remaining potatoes and add to the pot with the leeks.  Puree the contents of the pot in a blender until very smooth.  Return the pureed soup to a clean pot and reheat over medium low heat.  Whisk the milk and sour cream into the soup, along with 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Stir in the diced potato.  The soup should be fairly thick, but if it seems too thick, thin it with a little water or chicken broth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with remaining cheese, bacon bits, and scallions.



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