I consider “Loaded Baked Potato Soup” to be one of the best comfort foods around. It is a soothing soup; welcome on a cold winter night. When I bake potatoes, I often prepare a few extra and then make this creamy, flavorful soup. There’s something about this soup which is very satisfying. My recipe skips the heavy cream — it is a low-fat version — and is much more healthy. But you wouldn’t know. Next time you bake potatoes, try making this soup with the leftovers.
“Loaded Baked Potato Soup” is a simple soup recipe. Then load up the soup when serving it at the table by adding all toppings that you desire–sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and creative toppings such as broccoli. The soup shown here includes bits of ham for flavor; this evening I made a variation with bacon.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Flavor
The key to making potato soup is to use potatoes with lots of flavor. Sounds simple, but some potatoes have very little taste. I have found that the giant, over-sized Russet potatoes sold at our local grocery store have the best flavor–so I always purchase these. Stick with what works. Here are three baked, left-over potatoes. The total weight is 1 lb 14 oz.
Russet potatoes are mealy, they tend to fall apart after baking which is what you want in a creamy soup. I leave some of the skin on, because most of the flavor and nutritional value resides in the skin.
For seasonings, I use an onions, pepper (either white pepper or black pepper), ground thyme and Tabasco Pepper Hot Sauce. Nothing complicated — but enough to add flavor and zip. I use sodium-reduced Swanson brand chicken broth in addition to low-fat milk . Many potato soup recipes use cream or half-and-half. I find that this soup, made with low-fat or skim milk, has plenty of flavor and not as many calories.
Making Baked Potato Soup
Step One: To make the soup, first bake the potatoes. When potatoes bake, they release steam, so poke holes all over the raw potatoes with a fork or knife prior to baking to let the steam escape. Coat each potato with a little vegetable oil prior to roasting in the oven. Bake in a hot, 400 degree, oven for an hour. For this recipe I use about 2 lb of Russet potatoes which is 3 giant potatoes. This makes 6 servings.
Step Two: After the potatoes cook and cool down, peel and dice. I usually mash one of the potatoes and dice the rest. Also, I leave the peelings on about half of the potatoes. A potato ricer, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, works for mashing the potatoes; but these baked potatoes usually just fall apart. Set aside while making the soup.
Step Three: Next, saute the onions until translucent in a little margarine (or bacon grease). Add the ham and saute a few minutes longer. If using bacon, I dice 4 pieces of bacon, fry until crisp, and then remove the bacon and most of the drippings. Saute the onions in just a little of the bacon drippings.
Make a “White Roux”
Step Four: Thicken the soup by making a “white sauce” or “cream sauce” with milk, flour and margarine. In Louisiana, this is called a “white roux.” Here are the ingredients for the low-fat cream sauce.
This is the same “white sauce” or “roux” used in other Cajun recipes — but it is easier to make than a roux. A roux needs extensive stirring to brown the flour. Don’t cook the “roux” long enough to brown the flour in this recipe.
To make this white sauce, add the margarine to the onions and ham on the stove, then add the flour and blend in, then slowly stir in the milk.
Step Five: Add in the reserved, cooked mashed and diced potatoes, chicken broth and seasonings — including Tabasco Pepper Hot Sauce — and heat everything through.
Spinkle bacon pieces on top, if using. Pass green onions, shredded cheese and any other toppings. That’s it. Enjoy this soup on a cold, rainy or snowy night!
Loaded Baked Potato Soup by MayleesKitchen
- 2 lb Russet Potatoes or 3 very large baking potatoes, (6 cups baked, diced potatoes)
- Peanut oil
- 4 slices thin bacon, diced or 4 oz diced, cooked ham (1 cup diced ham)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp margarine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup skim or low-fat milk
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans Swanson 33% reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- 1/4 tsp white or black pepper
- 6 drops Tabasco Hot Sauce (optional)
- Favorite toppings, reserved bacon pieces, shredded Cheddar cheese, sliced green onions
Method and Steps:
- First, bake potatoes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash, dry and cut blemishes from potatoes. Poke holes in potatoes with knife or fork and coat with peanut oil. Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for 1 hour.
- Let the potatoes cool until they can be handled. Remove part of the skin from two of the potatoes and dice. Remove skin from third potato and mash with fork or potato ricer. Set aside.
- If using bacon, add diced bacon to large heavy sauce pan over medium high heat. Fry until the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon pieces with slotted spoon and set aside. Remove most of the bacon grease, leave a little in sauce pan.
- Add onions to sauce pan with bacon grease and saute onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- OR, if using ham, first sauce onions in margarine until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add diced ham and cook one or two minutes longer until heated through. Resume with making the white sauce, beginning with adding flour to sauteed onions.
- Make a low-fat sauce. Add margarine to the sauteed onions in the sauce pan and stir until margarine melts. Then add flour and stir to combine. Remove sauce pan off the burner and slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly. Return to stove over medium heat, and cook and stir until the milk is combined and heated.
- And chicken broth, all the diced and mashed potatoes, ground thyme, white or black pepper and Tabasco sauce (optional). Cook and stir over low heat until bubbly and thickened.
- Pour into serving bowls and top with favorite toppings, including reserved bacon bits, shredded Cheddar cheese, sliced green onions.