You can find many versions of cream-of-potato soup on the internet, ranging from those made with instant mashed potatoes flakes and dried onions, to gourmet creations that use Yukon Golds and heavy cream.
The recipe below is my favorite for those nights when a cold wind is blowing outside, I haven't planned something specific for dinner, and I'm low on fresh produce. I almost always have the ingredients handy in my pantry. This soup calls for including the vitamin-filled skin of the potato, and it tastes great even without any of the optional add-ons. It reheats and freezes well. Kids I know will eat this soup as long as the onion is diced small.
I calculate that the basic recipe comes to about $1.15 per generous serving, if you bought a bulk bag of russets and are using canned broth. In our house, the stock is usually homemade with vegetable trimmings and a chicken carcass, so I count that as free! If I have celery on hand, I will dice a stalk or two along with the onion. The fresh garlic is the most extravagant ingredient — you could experiment with minced garlic in a jar or garlic powder to bring the cost down even more.
Serve along with cornbread, a salad, or some home-canned fruit and you're set.
Hearty Baked Potato Soup
- 3 large russet potatoes, cleaned, skins pierced 3-4 times with a fork
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth (or one 14-ounce can)
- 12 ounces evaporated milk (I use the fat-free kind)
- 2 tsp seasoned salt
- Optional toppings: shredded cheese, diced ham or crumbled bacon, chives or scallions, Tabasco sauce, croutons
Microwave the potatoes 8-9 minutes until baked through. Set aside to cool slightly. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and add onion. Cook 6-7 minutes until softened. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add flour and stir several minutes to make a thickened roux. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and broth. Scoop the pulp from one potato, mash it slightly and add to soup. Cook soup on medium to bring to a boil. Add seasoning salt (to taste). Dice the remaining two potatoes and empty skin of the third potato. Add to soup and heat through. Serve alone or topped with anything that sounds good to you.
This recipe serves four hungry souls.
J.D.'s note: This soup is good, especially appropriate for curling up in front of the television on a cold winter night.