I have always been curious when encountering a recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup, or just Baked Potato Soup, because many of them actually call for mashed potatoes, or mashing your baked potatoes. I hadn't been specifically looking for recipes, but when I would happen to come across one, I would also notice that they didn't include broccoli. Personally, when I think of a loaded baked potato, broccoli and cheddar are what immediately come to mind. Then there are the skins - maybe it's an Irish thing, but in my house, when we had baked potatoes, we always ate the skins, so those should go in the soup too!
Given that the weather is cooling down and soup/stew season is upon us, I decided to give my own version a spin. I did, however, oops and forget I was planning to make soup, so I used my milk to make a batch of coconut yogurt (still a work in progress). Thinking that just broth would be too thin, I looked online for options and found a Parade Magazine recipe that included cream cheese and sour cream - made sense to me, especially the sour cream. Who doesn't like sour cream with a baked potato?? It wasn't lost on me that their recipe did not include broccoli or potato skins.
Arguably, white cheddar might have looked more appetizing than my orange, but I had a big, already opened, bag in the fridge, so I decided to use that instead of opening the block of white and shredding it myself.
3 lg baking potatoes
6 slices thick-cut bacon
3 T flour
3 T butter
4 c chicken broth
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 c sour cream (more if using for garnish)
2 c shredded cheddar
salt and pepper
4 scallions (or some fresh chive)
1 small crown of broccoli
- Start by scrubbing your potatoes well - if you plan to skip the crispy skins, you don't need to be as picky about it, but why would you do such a thing??? Bake until tender - when a fork can easily be inserted. Mine went in at 350° for about 50".
- While your potatoes are baking, go ahead and cook your bacon. You can either cook it and then crumble it, or dice it and then cook it. I'm usually in the cook then crumble camp, but this time I went the other way and diced it, removing a lot of the fat while I was at it. Remove from the pan to a paper-towel lined plate to soak up the grease, then pour off the grease, leaving just about a teaspoon or so in the pan and set aside.
- You can go ahead and chop your scallions now too, reserving some of the green tops for garnish, and removing the florets from your crown of broccoli. They'll be fine until your potatoes are done.
- When the potatoes come out, let them cool to where you can comfortably handle them, then cut in half lengthwise. To preserve the skins, I found it easiest to slice off the ends, scooping out the flesh with a spoon, then running a knife along the skin of the main section. Chop the potatoes into cubes and slice some of the skins into strips - like using tortilla strips in tortilla soup.
- In your soup pot, over medium heat, whisk together the flour and butter to create a roux, cooking just until it starts to take on some color (a blonde roux).
- Whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time until incorporated, then the cream cheese and sour cream.
- Bring the heat up just a little bit and start adding in your cheddar, stirring or whisking until melted, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cubed potatoes, chopped scallions, and broccoli florets and continue to cook until the potatoes are heated through and the broccoli is tender.
- While that's happening, re-heat the pan with the reserved bacon grease and toss in the strips of potato skin, frying until crispy.
- Add most of the bacon to the pot, reserving some for garnish, then you can switch and transfer the crispy skins to the plate the bacon was on for the moment.
- To serve, ladle into a bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of the reserved scallion tops and bacon, and some of the hot crispy skins.