Serve this hearty baked potato soup with a salad and bread for an easy winter meal

Virginia Willis
Southern Kitchen
Serve this soup with an array of toppings, such as scallions, bacon and cheese.

About the recipe

This baked potato soup can be ready in less than 30 minutes. It leaves aside the salt-laden "cream of" soups and copious amounts of heavy cream, relying instead on the natural starch of potatoes and a touch of flour to lend a comforting richness. Serve with an array of traditional baked potato toppings, such as scallions, bacon and cheese.

Serves: Makes 2 generous quarts

Hands on Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups homemade chicken stock or low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 cups 2 percent milk

4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 3/4 pounds)

1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)

Optional garnishes could include:

Chopped scallions

Bacon bits

Sour cream

Hot sauce

Instructions

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock, followed by the milk. Add the potatoes, increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the cheese, a little at a time, stirring until melted and smooth after each addition. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Purée the soup with an immersion blender. Leave it coarse for a more rustic soup, or purée it until smooth for a more elegant result.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Serve with the toppings on the side.