October 6, 2010

A Lighter Version of an Old Fave - Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup

6 oz hickory smoked bacon

6 stalks celery finely diced
3 large carrots, peeled, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. small cubed ham
32 oz chicken broth (or substitute with veggie broth)
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
6 med/lg. potatoes, baked, peeled and mashed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white ground pepper
½ Cup skim milk
4 oz sour cream, reduced fat
1 ½ Cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Garnish each bowl with:
sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese
sprinkle of chives
sprinkle of crumbled bacon

1. Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Cut bacon into small pieces and cook until browned and crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard bacon grease, reserving 2 Tablespoons to sauté veggies. Saute celery, carrots, jalapeno, and onion in bacon grease for 10 minutes, stirring often until softened. Stir in garlic and ham; cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in chicken broth and cream.

2. Place mashed potatoes in bowl to mash/mix. Mix while adding salt, pepper and cream. Stir mashed potatoes into soup until combined. Heat for 10 minutes.

3. Stir in sour cream and cheese until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low until ready to serve. Spoon into bowls and garnish.

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