Les and I went down to the Lake of the Ozarks for a quick getaway Wednesday afternoon, coming back on Thursday afternoon, a trip made possible by Morgann herding the kids while we were gone. We had no agenda other than celebrating our tenth anniversary about a week late by returning to the locale we went on our honeymoon. The fall weather was beautiful, and at least some of the trees are starting to change.
We stayed at the Inn at Grand Glaize with a room overlooking the lake, including a little balcony with two chairs, which was great for reading the next morning. At the front desk's suggestion we went to dinner at JB Hook's, and had a beautiful view from our table and an excellent dinner. I had their baked potato soup to start, and it was incredible. So last night I thought I would try my hand at it - not a slavish devotion to trying to recreate the restaurant's version, but giving it my own go.
This is a relatively quick soup to make, and the result is tasty - after putting the first spoonful in her mouth Morgann declared, "You can make this again!" and Les concurred. One issue I often have when I try to make cream soups, especially potato soups, is I think they come out too watery at the end, or the potatoes are soggy. I was determined not to let that happen this time, and I succeeded. I think baking them instead of boiling them helps.
Cardiologist's Cadillac Baked Potato Soup
[So-named because if you eat a lot of this, you will be paying for your cardiologist's car.]
- 7-8 medium russet potatoes
- ½ yellow onion, diced fine
- 5-6 fresh brown (Crimini) mushrooms, diced
- 1 Tbs diced roasted garlic† (I cheated and used the kind in the jar)
- 5 thick bacon slices
- 1 stick of (real) butter
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1+ pint heavy cream
- ¾ can of chicken broth
- 1 Tbs chives
- 1 Tbs oregano
- 1 tsp dill weed (I would have used more but Les doesn't like it)
- salt (to taste - I probably used a tsp)
- coarse pepper (to taste - I probably used a Tbs)
One or more of the following:
- grated sharp cheddar cheese
- crumbled bacon bits
- toasted onion flakes
- toasted caraway or cumin seeds
Bake the potatoes. I cheated and "baked" them in the microwave in two batches - about 8 minutes on high for each batch. You want them easily pierced by a fork but not "gushy." Set aside. Cook the bacon slices until they are just crisp. Set aside. In heavy pot melt the butter over medium high heat. When it is hot add the onions. Cook until they start to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook about another minute. Turn down the heat to medium and add about ¼ can of broth to deglaze. When it is just about to simmer stir in the sour cream and stir around until it is melded into the broth. Then add the cream (I used a little over half a quart) and another ½ (or less) can of broth. Add the garlic and seasonings, stir and continue to slowly heat it on medium (don't bring it to a boil).
While the soup base is heating, dice a little over half of the potatoes in fairly big (¾") chunks, leaving the skins on. Take the remainder and mash it in a bowl (also with the skins on - I like potato skins). Chop/crumble the bacon in fairly big (½") pieces. When the soup base starts to simmer, let it bubble for about a minute to thicken. Then add the potato chunks and the bacon and stir, keeping the soup from simmering again. Taste and adjust seasonings. Slowly stir in the mashed potatoes a couple of spoonfuls at a time, letting them mix with the soup. Heat through well. When it is steaming and just ready to start simmering again, it is ready.
Serve with soft breadsticks brushed with olive oil and heated in the oven.
† I cook with garlic, lots of it, in every meal. This was actually a "light" recipe in terms of the amount of garlic I used. As I always exclaim when adding heaping amounts of garlic to whatever I'm cooking, "The Lehmer household - vampire free since 1979!" No one ever asks me what happened in 1979. :o)