Cheesy Potato Soup

There’s a funny story that goes along with this soup … involving a “mishap” that happened sixteen years ago when I hadn’t been making this “recipe” long.  I had just met my now-husband shortly before this took place and he was bringing his sister and brother-in-law over to my house for dinner … and for me to meet them for the first time.  I wasn’t a super experienced cook, but I had been making this for a while and I knew it was something tasty I did well.  As you will discover, one of the last steps to this soup is adding some milk at the end.  I had worked all day cleaning my house, worrying about impressing my hubby’s family and I was nervous about cooking for them.  I had bought some good crusty bread to go along with it and had whipped up something for dessert.  The soup was on, I showered and was getting myself dolled up … then came time for the adding of the milk at the end.  Now, keep in mind it was September, which meant apple cider in my fridge.  I was in such a panic to have everything perfect that in the midst of my scrambling frenzy, I grabbed the gallon jug of apple cider out of the fridge instead of the milk!  There wasn’t much left in the jug, so I didn’t even notice it was NOT the milk.  I started pouring some in and by the time I realized what I actually had in my hand, probably a good cup (maybe more) of the cider had found its’ way into my potato soup!  Of course, I panicked!  Upon tasting it, it wasn’t too noticeable!  So, I served it.  Everyone loved it!  I told my hubby afterwards what had happened, but he said that it was fabulous!  I have made this hundreds of times in the sixteen years since and he always says it has never tasted as good as it did that night!  I even tried once adding a bit of cider, but still … he swears that one time was the best.  We joke about it to this day … that maybe the early stages of falling in love just blinded him to the actual oddness of Cider Potato Soup!

Now, to get to the instructions for the soup …

In a large soup pan set over medium heat, soften a chopped onion in some olive oil.

Add 10 – 12 peeled potatoes, chopped into small chunks.

Cook until about halfway tender, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle all-purpose white flour (a few tablespoons) over potatoes.  Stir to coat potatoes in flour.

Cook a few minutes to allow raw taste in flour to cook out, stirring every now and then.  It’ll start to smell kinda “nutty.”

Next, add either enough chicken stock (Homemade Chicken Stock) to come just above potatoes or add the same amount of water and then add 4 – 5 chicken bouillon cubes or a couple dollops of chicken base.  I like “Better Than Bouillon,” found at most mega-marts for around $4.

Stir to incorporate liquid into potatoes and flour.

Add kosher salt and a good helping of pepper.

I add a pinch of herbs de Provence (a combination of dried herbs) at this point, but made it for years without it!  So, it’s optional.

Toss in a handful of frozen corn (optional).

Allow soup to simmer on low until potatoes are soft and tender.  Taste the soup at this point and decide if it needs more seasoning or even another bouillon cube/spoonful of soup base.  Then, add in a couple of cups of milk or a combination of milk and half-and-half/heavy cream.  Stir well.  Allow soup to come back up to temperature, then add a couple of handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese.  Stir to melt cheese.

Soup is ready to serve when cheese is melted, but I find that shutting the burner off and allowing the soup to rest for 10 minutes or so makes it that much better!

Serve in bowls with chopped green onions, shaved parmesan, some crumbled, cooked bacon and/or a sprinkling of extra shredded cheese on top! 

VARIATION:  Sliced-up smoked sausage can be added in when you add the onions.  It makes for a very delicious addition!



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