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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Loaded Potato Soup

I recently wrote in a Frugal Kitchens 101 article about finding inspiration for cooking (here). A couple of days ago I was searching YouTube for a video to use on one of my other blogs. After finding what I wanted I decided to search the cooking videos. What is nice about cooking videos is you can pause and rewind as necessary which is quite useful for noting methods used. The methods are those little tips and tricks the cook uses that are not always noted in the recipe.

I found the following video for making Loaded Potato Soup that I thought would be interesting to blog about. Some of the ingredients are listed at the start of the video but watching reveals a couple of errors in the list including the omission of a couple of ingredients. Following the video is the recipe as used with corrections from the list of ingredients along with my comments.

Video courtesy of Dave Can Cook

Loaded Potato Soup
source: Dave Can Cook

10 c potatoes, cubed
8 oz bacon
2 c onions, chopped
1 c red onion, chopped
1 c green onion, chopped
1 c celery, chopped
2 tsp garlic
2 c chicken broth
1½ c milk
1 tsp corn starch
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
fresh chopped chives

Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into bite sized pieces. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until just soft. Drain and set aside. Using the same pot, cook the bacon slices. Remove the cooked bacon and set aside. Prepare the vegetables. Stir into the bacon grease and cook until onions are translucent. Stir in the potatoes. Pour in chicken broth and just enough of the milk (about 1 c) so the potatoes just start to float. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Mix remaining milk with the corn starch and stir into the soup. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon and chives.

My comments:

A recipe is just a starting point. While watching the video and reading through the list of ingredients I came up with a few things I would change when I make this soup. I would make the following changes to both the methods and ingredients.

Regarding the methods there are a few things I would change. First note the way he peels the potatoes. This is an accident waiting to happen. If the knife is slightly dull or the wet potato slips the result could be a lovely gash. Instead use a paring knife or better a potato peeler then cradle the potato in your palm while peeling. Second, I would steam the potatoes rather than boil for nicer texture and higher nutrition. Third, I would cut the bacon across the strips to form small pieces before cooking. This will more consistent sized pieces for garnishing. I would also blot excess grease from the cooked bacon. Finally I would change the entire method of thickening the soup by using part of the potatoes for thickening rather than using a corn starch slurry much the same as in my recipe for potato & leek soup.

What came to mind when I first saw the video was there as a lot of fat in the soup. About half of the bacon fat would give the flavour while reducing the fat. I would use a sharp cheddar cheese reducing it to 1 cup and substitute 1 cup of Asiago cheese for the mozzarella or 2 cups skim milk mozzarella cheese. The choice of milk used would of course affect the fat content. My first choice would be 2% M.F milk but a creamier flavour would be had by using 1 cup of ½ & ½ (10% M.F.) while eliminating the ½ c of milk for the slurry. Homemade defatted chicken broth would further lower the fat content. As you know sea salt and fresh ground pepper is my choice for those ingredients. I would use fresh ground white pepper in this soup.

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