Friday, November 11, 2011

All eyes are on you....

Yup, another potato post - I bet you couldn't wait! I volunteered to make a gigantic pot of soup for St. Frank's annual Holiday Sampler, a yearly wingding our parish puts on with a giant bazaar of handmade items all donated by the congregation. There is some serious talent and very deep pockets in Roy, and they are not stingy about sharing with those willing to part with a few bucks. I'm always amazed at how much work these people do to benefit their church and school - not many bazaars you go to are all donations....we're unique!

Potatoes have always been a filler in my cooking - baked, boiled and mashed, hash browns, french fries, chowders and delicately browned in a skillet - there ain't a lot about em I don't like. Son #2 makes an ethereal buttermilk potato bread with them that KILLS me every time - it's just not something I can pass up, and my points tracker makes a frowny face at me on days he makes it. I also lovelovelove a giant baker stuffed with butter, sour cream, bacon, green onion and black pepper and will eat it skin and all if it's baked correctly. Wanna know how? Magic...haha.

Actually, you just wash and dry giant spuds, poke them all with a small sharp paring knive a couple times on each flat side, then toss them in a ziploc one or two at a time with some olive oil and coat, then put em on a cookie sheet and liberally sprinkle kosher salt on both sides and bake at 375 about 1.5 hours or until that paring knife will slide right through em...the salt tenderizes them and flavors from the outside in. I overcooked the soup batch, and had to peel them a bit deeper after they cooled - Handsome Stranger finally had to throw the peels in the trash with smelly garbage because he could not leave them alone. I was going to make some smart-ass comment about the Great Potato Famine, but after looking it up on Wiki, I was ashamed of myself. Yes, that does happen.

So yeah, the soup. I was asked to make some last year for the luncheon that is the "Sampler" part of this event, and my butternut coconut curry soup was very well received....a few people had a look on their face like "Yah, like I'm gonna eat something that looks like regurgitated carrots", but I didn't take offense. I just found out what they drove and poured a little in their gas tank to take home and try later. I agonize over something that a large number of random people will be exposed to, especially since I go to church with a lot of them - you really don't want people that have calluses on their knees from praying on them since they were 3 getting some kind of food borne illness because of you - you could end up with the 7 plagues of Roy all over you. I'm pretty sure they are doing chicken noodle and minestrone again, so I wanted a thicker and more calorific option - yes folks, this will not have WW points plus values at the end, the bacon alone will cause the scale to short out at your next weigh in, and when you fry, it's gonna smell like hickory.

I decided to go with a chowder-ish selection, and honed in on Baked Potato - it just sounded so good, and a giant bag of bakers at Costco is only a sawbuck (if you are not over 50, that's a fiver). I did some research and found a couple promising candidates, one from my friend Amber's McClusky (ND) Centennial Cookbook and the other Paula Deen...we all know where this is going. I whipped up a test batch, and I will not tell you what Handsome Stranger said about it because it was VERY naughty - suffice to say he quite enjoyed it. (the soup I mean...) I think you will too, and will curse me with a closed and shaking fist if you are trying to achieve a leaner, meaner's quite heavenly in this lay person's opinion, but with devilish results to the dimples that will deepen on your heinie if you eat a lot. AMEN.

Baked Potato Soup

10 slices bacon
1/4 C. butter
1 C. onion
1/3 C. flour
4 C. milk (I used 2%, but you can use whatever your heart desires)
2 T. chicken base
4 HUGE baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 C. cheddar cheese, grated
1 C. sour cream
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Slice bacon across into ¼” strips, fry until crisp, remove from pan and set aside. Put bacon drippings in large pot with butter, sauté onions in fat until tender and stir in flour; cook 2 minutes. Pour in milk, whisking constantly then add chicken base and cook until it starts to bubble, add potatoes and bacon, grind in some fresh pepper and a bit of salt then turn heat down and cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly to keep from sticking. Stir in cheese and sour cream, check seasoning and adjust as needed. You will have to stir it a lot when it's over heat...the milk and flour will make it want to stick and burn constantly. I will also thicken if kept warm....add more milk as needed, and be prepared to add more chicken base and/or salt if need be.

If I was serving this at a meal, I would put some sour cream in a Ziploc, cut off the corner and make a little zig zag of it on top, then sprinkle with a tiny bit of cheese, a few sprinkles of chives or green onion, and one tiny bacon piece on top with a skosh of pepper… pretty would that be! Actually, I would just get in the way of the one wants to wait that long. And if you overindulge, they'll just comment "That's a fine doorful of a woman".....

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could eat stuff like this whenever I wanted. The two spoonfuls I DID get to eat were fantastic, so there's that. In your face, Weight Watchers!