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Roasted Potato, Bacon, and Cheddar Soup
(Makes 4 servings)
8 bacon slices
4 medium potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½-inch dice
1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice
4-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons chopped scallions or chives
1/2 cup heavy cream or milk (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped scallions, shredded cheddar and croutons for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450º F.
Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove from the pan and reserve the fat. Cut the bacon into ¼-inch pieces and reserve
Coat the diced potatoes and onion with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer the roasted potatoes and onions to a large saucepan. Add the broth, season with salt, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
Using a potato masher, puree the mixture until nearly smooth. For a creamier texture, use an immersion mixer or blender. Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the cheddar cheese. If the soup is too thick, stir in more broth or water to the desired consistency.
Stir in the scallions, reserved bacon pieces and the heavy cream or milk (optional). Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately with assorted garnishes.