The weather has been chilly and I’ve been dreaming of bowls of steaming hot soup to warm me up, like today’s Cheesy Potato Bacon Soup. There is nothing better to beat the cold!
Soups are simple to make from scratch and taste so much better than anything you can buy. Grab a sharp knife and with a little chopping, you’ll have this soup made in no time.
Being of Irish decent, just about any dish with potatoes is on my favorites list. One thing I order any time I see it on the menu is potato skins. I love the combination of flavors and crunchy skins – especially if there is a football game on the TV!
Today’s cheesy potato bacon soup recreates a lot of those flavors, reinterpreting them in soup form. The crunch comes from the crispy bacon pieces on top and melted cheese with chopped green onions adds the most common ingredients. You could add a dollop of sour cream too if you like.
Everything is better with bacon, right?!!! You cook the bacon first then sauté the vegetables in the bacon fat, building layers of flavor. If you want a vegetarian version, just replace the bacon fat with an equal amount of olive oil.
Every bite of this soup will warm you to your toes, warding off the chilly days and long, cold nights this winter. This is on the top of my list for comforting and delicious recipes in my repertoire.
The next time you are wondering what to make for lunch or dinner, I hope you will turn to today’s Cheesy Potato Bacon Soup and enjoy every single bite!
Bacon and other processed meats often contain gluten. Applegate brand is all natural, gluten-free, and supports small farmers. They are my favorite brand of cold cuts, salamis and other cured meats. They also make amazing bacon that would be perfect for this soup.
- 6 to 8 thick slices of bacon,* diced (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed, peeled and finely minced
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 6 cups water, divided
- 1 tbsp Kosher or fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend
- Reserved cooked bacon (from above)
- Finely chopped parsley
- Finely chopped green onions or chives
- Place the bacon pieces in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Once drained you can chop the pieces smaller if you want. Remove all but 3 tbsp of the bacon fat from the pot.
- With the heat still on medium, add the onions, celery, and bell peppers to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring often. Sprinkle the flour (or gluten-free flour blend) over the vegetables, stirring until they are evenly coated. Cook for 3 minutes until the raw flour aroma is gone. Do not let the flour brown.
- Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the water and make sure there are no lumps of flour, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the remaining water until smooth and stir in the salt and pepper. Add the potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to medium-low and gently boil until potatoes are very tender and the soup is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Larger chunks of potatoes will take longer to cook than smaller pieces.
- Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup for a luscious and creamy soup which naturally thickens the soup. Stir in the cream. Taste soup and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the hot soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle some of the cheese over the top of each bowl. Top with a little bacon and sprinkle the parsley and green onions on each bowl. Serve hot.
*For a Vegetarian Version: Leave out the bacon and use 3 tbsp olive oil in place of the bacon drippings.
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