Let potato soup take a tip from baked potatoes on toppings

  • Potato soup is worthy of baked potato toppings. Try bacon bits, cheese, chives, sour cream or all of them.

      Potato soup is worthy of baked potato toppings. Try bacon bits, cheese, chives, sour cream or all of them. M. Eileen Brown | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted10/5/2022 6:00 AM

What is a baked potato, really, if nothing more than a canvas for a scrumptious variety of toppings?

Crumbled bacon. Shreds of sharp cheddar cheese. A dollop of sour cream. Maybe some crispy fried onions or shallots. And, perhaps, a sprinkling of chopped chives.

 

These are the baked potato's raison d'être -- at least in my world.

So why shouldn't potato soup get in on the action? Here's a simple slow-cooker potato leek soup that is fine on its own but gets taken to a new level by adding all your favorite baked potato toppings.

The recipe calls for using bacon as the fat in the soup, but if you're cooking for a non-meat eater, you can use butter or olive oil in the soup instead. (I used about 2 tablespoons of butter, but use your best judgment).

Don't forget; there's more fat when you add the sour cream once you puree the soup. Feel free to go low- or no-fat here, but why would you?

Also, feel free to make this as chunky or smooth as you like. Remember, though; it's nothing more than a backdrop to all the tasty toppings.

• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's vice president of sales and marketing and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com/.

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Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup

6 slices bacon

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 celery stalks, sliced

1 large leek, cleaned and chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¾ cup sour cream, plus more for garnish

Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped chives, sour cream, fried onions and reserved bacon, for serving

Cook the bacon strips until golden brown in your preferred manner. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 slices for the topping. Crumble the remaining 4 pieces.

Place the crumbled bacon, potatoes, celery, leek, garlic, stock, salt, thyme sprigs and pepper in the base of a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Put the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6 to 8 hours) until the potatoes are tender. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to a semi-smooth consistency, leaving small chunks of potato and vegetables for texture, if desired. Stir in the sour cream.

Serve and top with cheese, chives, onions, additional sour cream and the reserved bacon slices crumbled over the top.

Serves 6

M. Eileen Brown

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