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Monday, January 21, 2013

Over the Top Potato (and Cauliflower) Soup

My husband is Irish. He loves potatoes. He likes them boiled whole, in their skins. He likes them served on a side plate and he carefully peels the skins and eats them like they're chocolate. I definitely don't love potatoes as much as he does. I do try to make an effort to make them, but it often means mashed, fried, hassleback, or, SOUP. And, par for the course, this potato soup has some extra ingredients that jazz up the potato quite a bit. So much so that this soup got Paddy's ultimate 5-star rating of "Spectacular Bacular!"

*This recipe calls for bacon. I'm very sorry for those of you who do/cannot eat bacon for this is the most important ingredient of this soup. Thick cut is best. Note the two options in #1. I always keep a ramekin of bacon fat in my fridge and use it instead of oil or butter when the occasion calls for it. Great for added flavor in this soup and makes for some really yummy eggs. Obviously, not the best option for daily cooking :)

1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled, diced
32 oz chicken broth
A few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
1/2 head of cauliflower florets
1/4 cup sour cream
3 slices of bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bunch of chives, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with foil.

2. Cook the bacon a large dutch oven. Remove and leave at least 2 tbsp bacon fat in the pan. Alternatively, you can skip this step but use bacon fat instead of oil to fry the veggies. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and potatoes to the pot and let soften for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Mix the cauliflower florets with a bit of olive oil and salt. Place on the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 mins or until lightly browned.

4. Add the chicken broth to the pot with the thyme and bay leaf. It should just cover the veggies, add more if needed. Bring to a boil and then turn it down to medium to simmer.

5. Mix the milk and the flour in a small bowl and add to the pot. Stir well.

6. When cauliflower is done, remove from oven and place in a blender with about 3/4 of the soup. Be careful not to fill your blender to high and use a towel instead of the cover. Blend until smooth.

7. Add the blended soup back into the pot with the chunky soup, add the sour cream and mix well.

8. Serve with a pile of bacon, shredded cheddar, and chives on top.

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