Creamy potato soup is packed with potatoes and full of flavor, but is lightened up by using chicken broth. Take it up a notch and top your bowl off with grated cheese, homemade croutons, real bacon, and fresh chives.
Welcome to “Make-Ahead Monday” – this will be the first of many! I’m sure we all have a day of the week that we just want to come home and relax and not have to stress about dinner. As you can tell by the title, that day for me is Monday. Monday’s are slow moving and tiring for me, and the last thing I want to do when I come home after a long day is cook. Yes, even people that love to cook need a day off every now and then! Every Sunday I make a dish that is easily made ahead and can be reheated on the stovetop or baked in the oven the next day.
Now, let’s get into this weeks “Make-Ahead Monday” – potato soup. Usually when we think of potato soup we think rich, creamy, and fattening. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that from time to time, but for a weeknight meal I like to keep things a little lighter. I wanted the soup to have the same richness but without all the fat and calories of a cream-based potato soup, so I made a few small changes and I’m really happy with the results.
The three main changes from a traditional potato soup are: olive oil instead of butter, chicken stock in place of cream, and boosting the veggie content by adding celery and carrots. I added a small amount of cream at the end, which brought everything together beautifully. I also used my immersion blender to puree a portion of the soup right in the pot; this adds more body while still keeping some texture. You can puree the soup as little or as much as you like, but I prefer to do about half so that I still get potatoes in every bite.
Since I made a somewhat lighter version of potato soup, I went all out on the toppings! Crisp bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, chives, and homemade croutons. Croutons are incredibly easy to make – just grab some leftover bread (it can even be stale!), toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and your favorite dried herbs (I like herbs de Provence), and bake at 400º for 15 minutes. Perfectly crisp croutons ready to throw on soups, salads, and for snacking!
I like to make most of my soups the day before I plan on serving because the flavors really have a chance to meld together. The next day all you have to do is reheat the pot on the stove, dish it up, add some toppings, and enjoy. I really love this soup for a chilly fall evening; it’s very comforting, but still healthy as long as you don’t go over board with the toppings!
What day of the week do you want a break from cooking? Do you like the idea of a make-ahead meal?
- 6 Slices Thick Bacon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 2 Stalks Celery, finely diced
- 2 Carrots, peeled and finely diced
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 3 large Russet Potatoes, diced
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1 Small Sprig Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour, or regular if not gluten-free
- 7 Cups Chicken Stock, unsalted or low-sodium
- 1 Cup Milk
- ¼ Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, optional
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Crumbled Bacon, Chives, and Croutons, for serving
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add bacon slices and cook until crisp, drain on paper towels and set aside for topping. Pour out all of the bacon grease (the little bits on the bottom of the pan are ok though!).
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in the pan and add the leeks, celery, and carrots; season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
- Add potatoes, garlic, and rosemary; cook for 2 more minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook 2 more minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
- Pour in the chicken stock, milk, and season with more salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat; don’t allow the soup to boil.
- After 20 minutes, use a hand blender to blend the soup to desired consistency. Slowly add in the cream and stir in the cayenne pepper.
- Serve the soup with the toppings.