Delicious Baked Potato Soup

So I’ve been entering the weekly contest on LiveJournal in the HPCreate community – each week they post a writing prompt on Friday and on Monday they pick a winner, they’ve had some great prizes, this week is a $200 gift certificate to Crate and Barrell – oh how I would love that. This week the assignment was to post a family recipe so I choose my baked potato soup.You can head over to LJ and post your own here – you’ll have to make a LJ account though – if you do comment here and I’ll add you to my friends list over there.

So if you don’t fee like heading over to LJ here’s my entry. 😀 Now don’t be surprised if on Monday you see me begging for votes. 😀

Christmas Eve night is a huge tradition in my husband’s family. Since
he was very small his mother’s entire family would gather at his
grandmother’s house for a celebration that rivals most Christmas
morning traditions. As the family has grown, Christmas Eve has grown
with it. All 35 of us (ranging in age from 83 to 12 months) still
gather together at Grandma’s house but now instead of Grandma making a
big spread of food for us we provide the food for her. About 6 years
ago we decided that Christmas Eve would be a good time to have a
homemade soup and salad buffet and it’s been tradition ever since. Aunt
Tricia brings chicken tortilla soup, Great Aunt Donna, who travels all
the way down from St. Paul, makes wild rice and mushroom soup, my
mother-in-law makes chili and I make baked potato soup. Every year all
of the soups are a hit and about 7 p.m. you can hear Uncle Bob, who
could easily pass for Santa given the proper costume, holler from the
kitchen "Jen, when’s your birthday again? I’m going to get you a bigger
crock pot. We ran out of potato soup before I could have seconds." It’s
been 6 years now and I’ve never seen that bigger crock pot. Maybe this
year I’ll surprise him and make a double batch.

So here it is
Grandma Kari’s Baked Potato Soup. (Kari’s not really my grandma but she
is a dear friend who gave me this recipe that will forever be a part of
our Christmas Eve traditions – well at least as long as Uncle Bob is
around to set the menu.)

6-8 medium to large russet potatoes,
scrubbed, baked and cooled completely (this is a good step to do the
night before you make the soup)
1 package of bacon, chopped small, cooked until crisp and drained
1 stick butter (margarine can be substituted but butter really is better)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups whole milk (again you can use low fat milk but whole makes it creamier)
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 green onions, chopped
sour cream for garnish

Melt
butter over medium high heat in a large heavy bottomed stock pot. Add
flour and cook 2-3 minutes or until flour just starts to lightly brown.
Gradually add milk and chicken stock, whisking constantly. Add salt and
pepper. Heat to milk mixture until it boils, stirring frequently. While
the milk mixture is heating, peel 1/2 the potatoes and cut into 1/2"
cubes, leave the other 1/2 of the potatoes unpeeled and cut into 1/2"
cubes. Once the milk mixture boils reduce the heat to low and add the
potatoes. Gradually stir in 2 cups of cheese and 1/2 the bacon until
the cheese is melted. Serve immediately or transfer to crock pot (do
not let this boil after the cheese has been added). Serve hot. Garnish
with remaining cheese, sour cream, bacon and onions.

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