Baked Potato Soup
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth (one of those recloseable boxes)
1 cup cream or half-and-half or whole milk
1/2 tsp thyme
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus some for garnish
Note: the sharper the better, as is always the case with cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream, plus extra for dolloping on top later
Bacon bits or bacon salt (optional)
First you boil up the potatoes so you can mash them. They cook faster if you cut them into smaller chunks. When you can stick a fork through the pieces, drain them and dump them in a big bowl and mash them roughly. You want to leave them chunky, for texture. I normally don’t even use my potato masher, I just go at them with a fork. Don’t add butter or cream or anything.
Next, fry up the onion with the butter in a big soup pot until the onions are soft, then whisk in the flour and let it brown a bit while you keep frantically whisking it. Then, still whisking, start adding chicken broth slowly. Start by only adding about 2 cups, then add the cream and the thyme and let it heat up until it gets frothy from the cream boiling, then turn down the heat. Stir in the mashed potatoes and blend them gently into the soup. Don’t whisk them in or you’ll break up all the chunks and it won’t be as good. At this point, if the soup is too thick, add more broth to thin it out. I dumped the whole box in this time figuring I’d be fine, and ended up with a really thin soup, so I stopped and cooked up 3 more big potatoes to mash and add to it. Since this takes a lot longer, I recommend starting with less broth at the beginning and adding more as needed.
When it’s time to serve, stir in the cheese so it melts – if you use normal cheddar you’ll have an orange tint to the soup. Then you can stir in the sour cream.
When you serve this it’s fun to add a blob of sour cream and a bit of cheese to the bowl, making it look all restaurant-fancy. I also cooked up bacon for bacon bits the first few times I made this, but I since discovered Bacon Salt in all its glory, and now I sprinkle that over the soup instead. I suppose you could use chives instead, if that’s your thing.