4 russet potatoes, baked*
1/2 onion, chopped
2-4 cups of milk
1/2 cup of cream cheese or sour cream
2-4 T butter
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Optional Garnishes: Cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, sliced green onions, croutons
1. In a dutch oven, saute onion with a little salt in olive oil until the edges start to turn brown.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off the potatoes. Chop them roughly, and put them in your dutch oven with your onions.
3. Pour some milk over the potatoes just to give you something to help mash into. Use your masher to mash the spuds up to an appropriate texture; if you want it perfectly smooth take a stick blender to the mix, or (my preference) leave it chunky.
4. Add butter, cream cheese or sour cream, and a dash of nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Add more milk if needed to bring to desired consistency. Remember that this will thicken as it cools.
5. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.
*Baked potatoes: scrub the raw potatoes and dry. Prick the skin all over with a fork, oil with vegetable oil and COVER in kosher salt. Place the potatoes directly on the rack of a 450-degree oven and place a sheet of foil on the rack below to catch any drips. When done (about an hour), you should be able to stick a fork into the middle of the potato and have it fall off the fork easily. Before serving, use paper towels to wipe off the salt. This is how the great Alton Brown recommends potato baking, and he hasn't been wrong yet. They don't steam, develop a good crusty skin, and have an almost concentrated potato flavor. To save time for this soup, the next time you serve baked potatoes for dinner, just prepare a few extra and keep them in the fridge until you're ready.
For the complete essay, click here: On Baked Potato Soup
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