Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
This would have ideally been a “winter soup” type of post -but in my household, any recipes that can be cooked in a slow cooker is a welcome addition any time of the year :) I put this quickly together after I hadn’t gone to the grocery for about two weeks (which is a long time for me!), and I wanted something hearty to serve on the table. The chopped bacon added extra smokiness that I really appreciated to give this soup extra depth of flavors and crunch. However, if you want to make this 100% vegetarian, you can omit the bacon, and substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth. I liked my soup in the chunky side, so instead of mashing two cups of the cooked potatoes, I just used my hand blender, and blended the soup until I got to the “chunkiness” level that I wanted. This was a perfect dinner to come home to after a long day of weekend errands and chores or weekday’s work: creamy, with bits of crunchy salty bacon, chunks of tender potatoes, and cold celery leaves.
8 ounces bacon, chopped (omit for vegetarian option)
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
3 scallions, sliced thin (I used celery leaves, since I ran out of scallions)
Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, 5-7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but 2 tbsp bacon fat left in skillet.
Add onion, garlic, and thyme to fat in skillet and cook over medium high heat until onion is softened and lightly browned. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of broth, scrapping up any browned bits, transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in remaining 3 cups of broth and potatoes into slow cooker. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.
Transfer 2 cups cooked potatoes to bowl and mash smooth with potato masher. Stir cheddar into soup until evenly melted, them stir in mashed potatoes and cream. Let soup sit until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve with scallions, crisp bacon and additional cheddar.
Note: This soup will thicken when stored in the refrigerator overnight. Thin with broth to your desired consistency before reheating.
Adapted from The Slow Cooker Revolution