Bacon, Cheddar and Potato Soup

We took a trip down to the Carolinas last week and just being in the sun, feeling the warmth and not having to bundle up in all the clothes I own to go outside has me longing for spring. Unfortunately, the weather when we returned home didn’t cooperate. So I went to one of our favorite comfort soups: bacon, cheddar and potato soup when then winds and snow picked up here. There are about a billion different recipes to make it, but this one is one of my favorites!

6 slices of bacon, diced (who am I kidding, there’s always more bacon than that)

1 cup each diced onion, celery, and carrots

6 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced

1 carton chicken stock

2 cups shredded cheddar

1/2 to 1 cup milk or half and half (depending on how creamy you like your soup)

salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crispy. While the bacon is going, cook the potatoes in the microwave in salted water for about 15 to 20 minutes (I find this helps speed up the cooking time and I have a terrible time gauging how long it will take to cook potatoes in a soup).

Drain the bacon and reserve about a tablespoon of the drippings. Cook the onion, celery and carrot until they are softened in the drippings. Drain the potatoes and add them into the pot. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture to how you like it. We like everything pretty well blended. Others prefer a little texture. No immersion blender? You can pour the soup in a regular blender to complete the process. I’m an incredibly messy cook, so I try to avoid this whenever I can!

Once every thing is the consistency you like it, add the milk, season with salt, pepper & red pepper and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Add about half to 3/4 of the cheese, stirring until it melts. Finally, add in most of the cooked bacon (save a little for garnishing the top of each bowl).

Serve it up with some nice, crusty rolls that have been warmed in the oven. A nice tossed salad works well too. Garnish each bowl with a little shredded cheese and the bacon bits.

What’s you go-to soup to fight off the winter chill?