It’s Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil has predicted that there will be six more weeks of winter. If, like us, that means you’ll plan meals around comfort food that’s hearty and healthy, consider one of our favorites, baked potato soup. It’s warm and savory, a delicious component of any winter meal. Even better, parts of it can be prepared the evening before you plan to serve it, making it an ideal choice for evenings when you’re pressed for time but don’t want to resort to take-out.
Baked Potato Soup
5 medium baking potatoes — (about 2 3/4 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups fat-free half-and-half or skim milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (Can used dried – conversion on bottle.)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (Can substitute cayenne pepper.)
1 3/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese — divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Wash potatoes well. Prick several times with a fork. Bake at 400 for 1 hour or until done; let cool. Peel potatoes, and slice crosswise. This can be done the night before you plan to seve the soup. Refrigerate after baking.
2. Melt butter in large skillet over low to medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent and tender.
3. Add flour and stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes a golden color.
4. Gradually add chicken broth. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thick. Stir frequently.
5. Add potato, the half-and-half, and the next 6 ingredients. Stir well. Simmer and cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes. If it begins to boil, lower heat.
6. Add 1 cup of cheese and cook until cheese melts. Stir often.
7. Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with remaining cheese and parsley.
Notes: To save preparation time, measure all dry ingredients the day before you plan to serve the soup. Reserve in individual foil packets.
Yields 12 cups.