Potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes - when you take part in a winter CSA through your local farm, you're going to get a lot of them. Luckily, there's so many things to do with them. You can mash them, bake them, boil them, make them into soup, gnocchi, fries and more. If you're finding yourself with a lot on hand, like I did this week, soup is always a good option.
It's cold here in New England. It's been about 1-10 degrees every night here this week. We're buried in feet of snow, with more on the way. You've got two kinds of people in New England. The kind who complain about the weather, and then the people who complain about the people who complain about the weather. I'm in the first category. I don't often complain about winter here, but it's been brutal this year, and my feeling is that it's complaint worthy. My blood is frozen, I can't warm up. Someone get this lady a boat drink, and stat.
The lovely weather is the reason this recipe was born. I wanted something hearty, a stick-to-your-ribs type of soup. I'd been craving a loaded baked potato, but also craved soup. This little dish has all the elements of your baked potato - potato, cheese, green onion, sour cream, and yes, bacon. Oh yes, it also has the nice little Vermont beer I hope you'd pair with this. I love me some Long Trail Ale out of Vermont. I used their standard ale in this, but their winter Hibernator Ale is my favorite of all winter ales. If you'd like, you can omit it or reduce the amount in the soup, you do end up with a distinct beer taste to this if you use it.
I don't usually include nutritional info because I think it's difficult to accurately calculate it outside a lab. However, when plugged into Spark Recipes, this soup weighs in at 293 calories with 9.4 grams of fat (5.4 grams saturated). I liked the idea that a bowl of this very filling and yummy soup (with beer, bacon and cheese) came in at under 300 calories and 10 grams of fat.
Beer and Baked Potato Soup
2 pounds baking potatoes (or whatever you have from your local farm, I had small golds)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups 1% milk (or whatever you have)
1 1/2 cups Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup beer (I used Long Trail Ale, you can omit or reduce this amount to taste as well)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup green onions, chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
extra shredded cheese and sour cream for topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce each potato with a fork and bake for one hour.
While potatoes are baking, fry up bacon until crispy and set aside. Once potatoes are done, allow to cool until they can be handled and then peel. Roughly mash the potatoes in a bowl and set aside.
In a large dutch oven, measure out your flour and then slowly whisk in your milk until combined. Now, heat the mixture on low to medium heat, making sure you do not burn it. Once your mixture thickens up you can now add in your cheese and potatoes, stirring until melted. Once that happens, add in the sour cream, the beer, salt and pepper, keeping the heat between low and medium and cook until heated through, stirring often. Finally, stir in your green onions.
Serve in bowls, garnished with extra shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions and bacon.