Da Bomb Baked Potato Soup
Comfort food at its best
Before I begin, I want to give a huge shout-out to our state and local leaders. I feel very fortunate to live in California where we were the first to be placed on lockdown and are kept up-to-date daily by Governor Gavin Newsom and our Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. They are relying on the medical and scientific experts to guide them and therefore us and we feel in very good hands. I want to congratulate Californians on their smart choices as they are clear and evident in these times when we need them the most. I hope that wherever you live, the feelings are mutual.
Going into week 4 of these trying times, I find my attitude changing. Why I’m more optimistic, go figure, but my spirits are up and I feel like things are getting better. One of the reasons is I planted an indoor herb garden that’s beginning to sprout. My fondest memories of Good Friday, which is tomorrow, are of my Mother and I planting things every year on that day and then watching them sprout throughout the spring. My Father was a farmer at heart and made a garden in the backyard that he would go right out to every day after work. It’s theraputic to watch things grow and for years we ate fresh vegetables. I’ll take photos of the progress and update you weekly at the bottom of each blog.
Soups are the best. As a tour guide, I spent many an afternoon in New York City at Hale and Hearty, waiting while my group finished touring NBC or Top of the Rock at Rockefeller plaza. Too many soup choices to choose from and not a bad one amongst them, as they say, “Soup just makes everything better.”
Baked Potato soup has long been a household staple. Most of the recipes I read use a lot of cream and dairy. I prefer the stock version favored by food network chef Alton Brown and it’s his recipe that I’ve modified over the years. Roasted garlic adds huge depth of flavor to just about any savory dish, but in this soup they’re kissing cousins. Buttermilk adds a nice tang, but, if you don’t have any, mixing lemon juice with milk and waiting a few minutes serves the same purpose. I’ve also substituted Oat milk which works very well. Turkey bacon is acceptable but then you’re going to need some type of fat to saute your onions. Butter works well, also ghee. Toppers are your choice. I didn’t have chives so I used green onions. An immersion blender is everything in soup blending, but, if you don’t have one, small batches in the blender works and you can leave some if you prefer a chunkier variety. Just be careful of blending hot liquids. Removing the insert in the top and covering the hole with a towel is your best bet. Otherwise, as the soup Nazi said in one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”
Da Bomb Baked Potato Soup
2 slices Bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
2 scallions, sliced (white and green parts separated)
1/4 tsp (1.2g) Pepper (white pepper if you’re particular about color)
2 Tbsp (30g) Flour
6 cups (1.4 liters) chicken stock, hot
6 or 7 cloves of Garlic, whole, unpeeled
4 baking potatoes (Russets work best) 3 baked, peeled and put through a ricer, or grated when cooled. 1 potato peeled and diced.
1 cup (250ml) Buttermilk
1/2 cup (64g) grated Parmesan
2 tsp (8.4g) kosher salt
dash of hot sauce (I use my friend Niles’ OG (now Dino) Pepper sauce. It’s a blend of barrel-aged peppers, not hot, spicy http://ogpeppersauce.com Its the best!
1 can cream of potato soup (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions or chives for topping
sour cream for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 (204C)
Wash, scrub and bake 3 of the 4 potatoes on a baking sheet along with loosely wrapped in foil garlic cloves drizzled with a little oil. Bake potatoes for 1 hour, remove garlic after 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze garlic into small bowl, set aside.
Add bacon to a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until crisp, about 5 or 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add onion, scallion (green onion) whites and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add flour, stir to remove the flour taste, about 1 minute. Add stock and whisk to combine. Add diced potatoes and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes until potatoes are tender.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the riced potatoes, buttermilk, Parmesan and roasted garlic. Add this mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Add can cream of potato soup. Continue stirring.
Using an immersion blender, blend mixture to desired consistency. Or transfer 1 cup at a time to a blender being careful while blending hot liquids.
Bring soup to a simmer over medium heat, add dash hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. (careful as the parmesan is salty)
Divide the soup among bowls. Top with grated cheddar cheese, bacon bits and chives or green onions.
The Herb Garden!
“When I consider everything that grows, holds in perfection but a little moment…” (Shakespeare sonnet)
It’s 6 herbs. Italian Parsley, Dill, the 2 Basils, Mint and Thyme. Some take longer than others to sprout and the manual said that the Basil would sprout first and grow quickly. It’s so exciting to watch things grow. I, however, have never had a green thumb, so expectations are low.
Happy Holy week to you all. Passover begins at sundown, Wednesday April 8 and to all our Jewish brothers and sisters, Chag kasher v’sameach. I hope that wherever you are and whatever your faith, we are all mindful of those on the front lines of this crisis that are risking their lives for us. From the medical professionals to the delivery workers. From the sanitation workers to the postal service and everyone in between, I am extremely grateful for your service. Never before in my lifetime is the entire world more connected than ever and we are all in this together. Having lost both of my parents, I pray for all those experiencing loss and the palpable pain that comes along with that. Hope springs eternal and I look forward to the times when I can hug people freely again. Until then, virtual hugs to you all!