When the weather (or your spirit) calls for a warm and comforting soup, this may be just the one you want. No all day simmering, it can be on the table in under an hour. It's one of my favorites.
You can make it as thin or a thick as you like by adjusting the amount of milk and cream you add. I like to vary the garnishes, according to what I have on hand, but I always include the thinly sliced green onions (scallions), or chives.
Cream of Potato Soup
1/2 pound sliced bacon (You can use less; this provides enough garnish for the entire pot of soup)
1 medium yellow onion
3 large russet potatoes, I peel them. However, if you scrub them well you can leave skin on if you like
2 cups chicken stock (or canned chicken broth)
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half
salt, to taste (potato soup usually requires more salt than you might expect, so taste and add until it tastes good to you.)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper - or to taste
The crisp bacon
2 medium green onions - thinly sliced, or thinly sliced chives
Cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces, across the strip
Cut the onion into 1/2-inch dice. Wash and peel potatoes, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes. Can leave skin on if you've scrubbed them well (in order to dislodge any sand or soil.)
Fry the bacon in a large, heavy pot (Dutch or French oven works well), cook bacon until it is nicely crisp (don't over cook or it will have no flavor.) Remove bacon and drain in a small, paper towel lined bowl. Set aside. Drain all but 2 Tablespoons bacon grease from pot. Add diced onions to pot; cook and stir over medium heat until translucent but not brown.
Add potato cubes to the cooked onions. Stir potatoes for a few minutes until they are heated through but not browned. Add chicken stock or broth and allow potatoes and onions to simmer over medium heat (partially covered) until potatoes are completely tender (test with tip of knife.)
Stir in milk; bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper. Stir in the half & half to reach desired consistency. At this point you may use stick blender to smooth out the soup (adding more milk or stock if you want a thinner soup).
Serve hot, garnished with the crisp bacon and thinly sliced scallion or chives.
Optional Additional Garnishes:
- If desired you can float a dollop of sour cream or grated cheese on top of soup before garnishing with the bacon and onion.
- A sprinkling of your favorite minced fresh herb
- Finely diced red or green bell pepper, or tomato
- Fried Onion Rings
- Crispy Croutons, plain or seasoned
- If you happen to have some roasted garlic on hand, stir that in during the last few minutes of cooking to heat through.