Potato Cheddar Cheese Soup
Courtesy of Brian Patterson
Active time: 15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes Serves 6-7 (small portions)
¼ pound sliced bacon, crosscut into thin strips
1 large onion, chopped
3 large baking potatoes*** (about 2¾ – 3 lb), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup cubed butternut squash
4½ cups water
1 tsp salt
6 ounces cheddar cheese grated (about 1½ cups)
¼ cup chopped chives or scallion tops
¼ cup cream, optional
Cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off all but 2 Tbs. bacon fat or add oil to total about 2 Tbs. in the pan.
Add onion and cook, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, approximately 5 min. Stir in the potatoes, squash, water and salt bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender. 15 – 20 minutes.
Remove half the soup and puree in a food processor. Alternatively, mash some of the potatoes with a masher for better texture. Return the puree or mash to the pan. Over low heat, add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove pan from heat. Adjust seasonings.
Top soup in bowls with bacon and scallions.
***Use baking potatoes for better starch content in this soup. Boiling potatoes are waxier and don’t add the best texture. Don’t use stock instead of water or taste will go in a different direction. Pureeing this soup would make too gluey, I think. Squash adds a subtle flavor and more color to this soup.
Use good quality cheddar. Yellow cheese contributes richest color as does the squash.
For chunkier soup, skip pureeing, just break up some of the potato with a spoon.