Monday, March 21, 2011

Baked Potato and Leek Soup

  This is one of my favorite soup recipes. I love the flavor of baked potatoes, so why not put it into a soup? I had no clue what to make one cold, windy evening for dinner, so I looked in the fridge and this recipe evolved. I had made the Cooking Light Baked Potato Soup version many times, and knew the recipe by heart. It was fun to tweak an old favorite a little with the ingredients I had on hand.  I hope you and your family enjoy this soup as much as we have! Bon Appetit!

*I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light . You can check out the original recipe from their recipe.

Soup Recipe
Serves: 6 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hour

1 large leek or 2 small leeks, washed and rinsed, chopped (Check out this post on how to clean leeks) 
5 medium red potatoes or about 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk (I used fat-free)
1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used low-fat)
3 bacon slices (I used turkey)
Green onion (optional)

 1 Preheat oven to 400*F. Pierce potatoes with fork and bake in oven for about 1 hour, or cut them quarters and bake them for about 1/2 hour. If you are super duper short on time, just cut the potatoes into cubes, throw them into boiling water and let boil until they are soft.
 2. Peel them and mash with a fork. 
 3. Get out a dutch oven or soup pot. Spray it with cooking spray and add your chopped leeks. Cook over medium until they are soft, about 6 minutes. 
4. Dump the sauteed leeks into a large bowl, wipe out dutch oven. Add your flour to dutch oven and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute. 
5. Gradually add the milk. I started with 1/2 cup at a time, and blend with a metal whisk. Constantly stir until you have added all the milk, and let the sauce simmer while stirring for about 8 minutes until it is thick and bubbly. 
6. Add leeks, mashed potatoes, cheese, yogurt and salt and pepper. Over medium heat, cook for about 5 more minutes until the soup has warmed up to desired temperature. 
7. This next step is optional. I added half of the soup to a blender, and blended till smooth so it wouldn't be as chunky. It depends how you like your soup. You can leave it alone and serve as is, or blend all of it, or do half and half. It's up to you! Garnish soup bowls with bacon and green onion. You can even add a little dollop of yogurt on to each soup bowl. Serve hot!


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Bake potatoes ahead of time.
~Rinse and chop leeks ahead of time. 
~Grate cheese ahead of time and leave in fridge. 
~Make the whole soup ahead of time and then reheat when ready for dinner.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

 ~Use shallots or onions instead of leeks.
~Replace sour cream with yogurt.
~Try Monterrey jack cheese instead of cheddar.
~Instead of red potatoes use baking potatoes or yellow ones.

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