Baked Potato Soup
An easy, creamy soup with just enough cheddar bite. Recipe courtesy of Bob Titterton, author of The Vermont Home Cookbook
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 pounds russet potatoes, large dice (4 good-size potatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 baked potatoes, unpeeled, ½ inch dice
6 strips bacon, fried until crisp, crumbled
4 ounces grated 2-year Grafton Cheddar (about 2 cups)
½ cup sour cream
Chopped fresh chives
Bake the potatoes ahead of time, and cool to room temperature or refrigerate overnight so they develop a waxy texture. When cool cut into ½ inch dice, without peeling, and reserve. They will hold their shape in the soup because they were allowed to cool completely.
Heat vegetable oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy pot. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmering and cook, uncovered for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, and puree using an immersion blender, or ladle into a countertop blend and puree in batches, filling the blender no more than ⅔ full. Pulse the blender so that the hot liquid does not expand. Pour the soup back into the pot, and return to low heat.
Use a whisk to incorporate ½ of the grated Cheddar and the sour cream. Stir in the previously baked, diced potatoes, and the bacon. Heat through without boiling.
Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with more grated Cheddar and chopped fresh chives.