I've always wanted to make really good soups from scratch like grandpa did, no assistance from Campbell's ...thank you very much...that's not how grandpa did it.
I got this recipe for baked potato soup from my mother-in-law. I've tweaked it and toyed with it, I think I've finally got it to the point where I would be proud to serve it to my grandpa if he was still here. BAKED POTATO SOUP
4 large baked potatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
12 slices maple smoked bacon, chopped and fried
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
6 cups milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. sour cream
Wrap the scrubbed potatoes in foil and bake @ 400 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the potatoes. Sometimes I bake the potatoes ahead of time so that they've cooled a bit and are easy to chop up when it's time to make the soup.
In a large heavy bottom sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, add chopped onions and celery, saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or 'til translucent. I use my 8 quart Belgique pan when I make this soup... I was a dummy and forgot the saute the onions before I fried the bacon so I had to use another pan. Whoopsieee.
Transfer the sauteed onions and celery to a bowl and set aside. Saute the chopped bacon until thoroughly cooked. With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked bacon from the pan to a paper towel to drain off excess grease, you don't want a whole lotta bacon grease in your soup. My bacon was really fatty...yuk...I don't want that in my soup. Pour the bacon grease out of the pan but don't clean out the pan. You want to keep those teensy bits of bacon flavor that are stuck to the bottom of that pan.
I love to measure out my spices ahead of time so that they're ready to go into my soups. I call this "spice art", I have a whole collection of little glass bowls...it's kinda pretty doncha think? Clockwise from top right. Celery salt, dill, dry mustard, salt and white pepper in the center.
Sorry, I got distracted...herbs and spices do that to me.
Melt 2/3 cup butter in the same pan that you fried the bacon in, minus the bacon grease. Scrape up the little bits of bacon that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Now it's time to add the milk. Add it in a slow stream about a cup at a time, whisking like crazy as you add it, the first couple of cups it will look like glue, don't freak out...just keep whisking and adding. The reason for adding the milk slowly is so that you get a nice creamy soup...who the heck wants a lumpy gumpy soup anyway?
Now you've got a beautiful creamy base for your soup, whisk in the salt, celery salt, dry mustard, white pepper and dill. Keep the pan on low heat, be sure not to scorch the soup. Add the sauteed onion and celery mixture, the fried bacon. Chop up the cooled baked potatoes into 1/2 in chunks and add to the soup. Shortly before serving add the grated cheddar and sour cream, mix thoroughly until the cheese melts.
Serve with a little extra cheese grated on top and a few chopped green onions if desired.