Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The BEST Baked Potato Soup...Ever.

Several years ago I was introduced to what I believe to be, hands down, the best baked potato soup. Ever. Period. I love it. Those of you who know Ms. Donna Turpin, know she is the master at created a soup out of bits & pieces and this "throw together" was a real winner. When I asked for the recipe, she did her best to remember everything she put in it, and, then I have tweaked a little here & there.

Warning: This soup takes almost 24 hours to make, and, is a little expensive...BUT, I assure you, it's worth it. It makes 2 full crock pots, so perfect to share, or to freeze for later!

Ingredients for Round 1:
Ham Bone (next time you make ham, save the bone w/ all the little tiny pieces of meat on them for the soup - you can just throw it in a ziplock bag & put it in the freezer until your ready to make soup)
3-4 Chicken Leg/Thigh Quarters (these are cheap! Bonus!)
Chopped Celery, Carrots, Onion (just a little) - I like about a cup of each celery & Carrots.
Chopped Green Pepper (optional - but if you do it, only about 1/4-1/2 cup is plenty).
Green Onions if you have them.
4 chicken bullion cubes
Basil, Thyme & Lemon Pepper
2 bay leaves

**Start this in the evening, to let cook all night. In first Crockpot, place 1/2 chopped veggies, ham bone, & water (fill the pot), add 1 bay leaf & 1/4 tsp (or whatever you like to taste) of each seasoning, set to low & let cook all night.
In the 2nd Crockpot, place chicken (skin first to reduce fat), the other half of chopped veggies, the 2nd bay leaf & the same amount of seasonings, set to low & cook all night.

By the time you wake up, your house will smell AMAZING!

Round 2: In the morning....
Pre-bake 3-4 pounds of potatoes in the oven or microwave (I prefer the oven, they hold up better), let cool completely, peel & dice (large chunks are fine, but small are better for some too.

Remove meat from crock pots. Pull any ham left on the bone off & place in pot, remove any extra chicken skin or fat, then dice or shred chicken & place back in bot.

4 hours before serving....
Mix the 2 pots of broth, each pot should have some chicken & some ham broth. This is a royal pain, but it makes the soup by blending the 2 flavors. I have found the easiest way is to find the largest bowl you have, pour both pots in, mix, then redivide in the 2 pots.

take your cool, diced potatoes & evenly split them between pots

Round 2 "Extras":
1 block of cream cheese
1 small container sour cream
1 block of cheese (I like colby, but cheddar is fine)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (could easily substitute mushroom or celery soups)
2 more chicken bullion cubes
1 pound of cooked & crumbled bacon

Take EVERYTHING listed above, and, evenly divide it between the 2 crock pots. For the block cheese, I find it better to take the time & shred it, then just chunk it up (it doesn't melt as well). After everything is in, continue to cook on low 4 hours. (I check seasonings after about 2 hours - that's a good point to know if it needs more of anything). Continue to stir every now & then as it has to melt the cream cheese & regular cheese.

Enjoy! Be ready to feel the most amazing euphoria after eating this soup. I'm fairly sure this soup is served in Heaven. It just must be.

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