What to make for dinner after you have built your ark?  Here in Texas the weather has been so dreary and WET.  I just hope we see the sun soon.  I keep singing that song “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”, tomorrow…  Anyway, I asked my kids what they wanted for dinner last night and they all said Baked Potato Soup.  Soup normally is not enough to fill them up, but this soup is very hearty, meaning, not low calorie. But is so good!
It is called Baked Potato Soup because, I have in the past, baked the potatoes then mashed them.  But, last night I did not have time so I grabbed a bag of “pre-made” mashed potatoes at the grocery at about 5pm.  This is my new favorite find!!!  It cut about 45 minutes off my cooking time and we truly could not taste the difference.  
Let me know your thoughts!


Baked Potato Soup

Makes about 5 Full Servings

3 strips bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed OR a tub of pre-made mashed potatoes or the Steam in Bag mashed potatoes
1 cup half and half 
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Chives, mined for garnish
Tabasco, served on the side

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on a paper towel.  Chop and reserve for garnish.

In the bacon drippings, sauté onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in flour and cook for about 1 minute until it is incorporated.  If you notice that you do not have enough bacon fat in the pot then add a tablespoon of butter.  You always want equal amounts of flour to fat when making a roux.  

Once flour is incorporated into fat, onions and garlic, whisk in chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  

Stir in potatoes.  If you are using the  steam in bag potatoes then steam according to directions and then mash in a bowl before adding to broth.  If you are using baked potatoes then peel, cube and mash potatoes before adding to broth.  

If you still have big lumps of potatoes and you want a totally smooth soup then this is the time to use an immersion blender or blend in a blender (in batches).  

Add cream, milk, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese. 

Serve with bacon bits, chives and the remaining cheese.

I always put a jar of Tabasco on the table because my son LOVES Tabasco in this soup.