"Soup" is the answer to every question, isn't it? Cheap, easy, versatile. I grew up on soup. The biggest hit both at home and in my parents' restaurants was Mom's Potato Soup. She always made it with boiled potatoes. Baked potatoes in a soup had never occurred to me, not even when I saw Baked Potato Soup on a menu for the first time. Instead of the obvious interpretation, my brain hiccuped and I imagined my mom's boiled potato soup topped with cheese and then baked like French Onion Soup. When the bowl of non-gooey-cheese-covered soup was presented to me I realized my mistake and was beyond disappointed. The disappointment was totally worth it though since it inspired me to create this unambiguously baked, baked potato soup: Soup made of baked potatoes, topped with cheese and baked and then topped with crispy potato skins, sour cream and green onions. —Cook the Story
potatoes (about 10 medium), washed and dried
olive oil (divided)
1 and 1/2
teaspoons coarse sea salt (divided)
coarse black pepper (divided)
slices uncooked bacon (about 6 ounces total)
white all-purpose flour
fine kosher or table salt (and maybe more to taste)
dried ground sage (and maybe more to taste)
Place the potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp coarse sea salt and ½ tsp black pepper. Rub each potato to coat with the oil and to spread the seasoning around. Put the pan of potatoes into the oven and bake until they yield easily to a fork prick, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon according to package directions. Reserve 2 tbsp of the bacon fat. Coarsely chop the cooked bacon.
In a large pot, warm the reserved bacon fat over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, reduce heat to low and cook while stirring for one minute. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth making sure the mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk in the remaining chicken broth and 2 cups of water.
Chop half of the potatoes into 1 inch chunks and add these pieces to the pot along with the chopped bacon. Slice the remaining potatoes in half and scoop the fluffy white insides into the pot. Slice the hollowed out potato skins into 2-inch pieces. Put the sliced potato skins back onto the baking sheet. Drizzle them with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt. Toss to coat and spread them in a single layer. Put the pan back into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until skins are well-browned and crispy.
While the potato skins are browning add the table salt, 1/4 tsp coarse pepper and the sage to the soup pot. Bring the pot of soup to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper and sage if needed. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot to keep the soup warm until the skins are ready. Stir the soup occasionally.
Place six oven-safe soup bowls onto a large jelly roll pan (this makes it easier to get them in and out of the oven). Fill each bowl 2/3 full of the soup. Sprinkle each with 1/2 cup cheese. Now the pan of potato skins and the pan of bowls swap places (skins onto counter, bowls into oven). Bake the soup until the cheese is melted (5-ish minutes).
Top each bowl of carby cheesiness with some crispy potato skins, a tbsp of sour cream and a tbsp of green onions. Slurp! Crunch! Crunch! Slurp! Slurp!