Monday, November 17, 2014

Roasted Cheesy Potato Soup

I love Sundays!  It's my hands-down favorite day of the week for cooking or baking because I have the entire afternoon to relax and move at my own pace...a.k.a. experiment with new recipes and do things like bake focaccia bread for the second time in a month!  Howie and I have been testing out soup recipes all fall, and were really in the mood for a creamy, hearty potato soup to get us through the cold day.  It may not be our healthiest creation, but it was definitely one of the most delicious!  Actually, it was so delicious that I felt the need to box twice in 24 hours and consume green smoothies and kale salad for the majority of the next day.  Worth it?  Duh.

Before you do anything, preheat the oven to 400° F.  We chopped up red potatoes, red peppers, onion and garlic, and placed everything in a 9" x 13" baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Top the veggies with olive oil, lots of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes for a bit of a punch in each bite!  We cooked them for 20 minutes, flipped them, added 1/2 cup green onions, and continued baking an additional 20 minutes.  The green onions were added halfway through the roasting process to prevent them from burning since they're more delicate than the other veggies.

The next step is everyone's favorite sinful ingredient: BACON!  While the potato mixture was cooking, we chopped up the bacon into little 1/2" pieces and fried them until they were golden brown.  I chopped up 6 strips, but do a couple extra if you feel like you might lose self control after smelling cooked kind of need all 6!  Don't forget to drain the bacon on a paper towel after it's done cooking!

Once the potato mixture was finished roasting, we moved the veggies into a large saucepan, and added the broth, evaporated milk and 1/4 cup green onions.  Warm the soup over medium low heat for 5 minutes.  Time for Howie's favorite part: the handheld immersion blender!  He pulsed the soup right in the pot until it was about 90% smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, just pulse the soup in a food processor or blender in batches until smooth.

After the mixture seemed perfectly creamy, it became even smoother with the addition of shredded cheddar cheese...then about 2/3 of the chopped bacon for a crunch...then a touch of garlic powder, basil, oregano and black pepper to get the seasoning just right.  So many layers of flavor!  Just a warning, you might need to adjust the seasonings based on your preference and natural flavors of the ingredients.  We simmered the soup for another 15 minutes until it thickened up and the flavors melted together.  NOM!

Howie had the biggest smile on his face while he stirred the almost-ready soup :P

We topped it with a little extra cheddar cheese, bacon, green onions and a dab of sour cream.  It was sinfully delicious, especially with my homemade garlic rosemary focaccia bread! 

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