Cheddar potato soup is the ultimate comfort food – silky smooth, super flavorful, tummy warming and just all around delicious. And it’s easy to make in less than an hour! I like to purée part of the soup to give it creaminess and that silky texture, but leave chunks of potato too. And for some crunch, topping it with crispy bacon makes it that much better (everything is better with bacon, right?). The chives sprinkled on at the end give a little punch of flavor and add some eye candy too. Consider other toppings too like crispy croutons, drizzle some heavy cream or olive oil on top, or anything else you can think of that might be a tasty addition.
This soup is also wonderful left over….just be very careful to reheat over low heat or the soup will separate.
Active Time: about 45 minutes
4 strips of bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup half and half
2 cups water
1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb yellow potatoes such as yukon gold, cut into 1/2″ dice
2 bay leaves
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 8 oz)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
salt & pepper
fresh cut chives for garnish
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When hot, add the bacon pieces and cook until they are brown and starting to crisp. Scoop out the bacon and drain on paper towels, leaving the grease in the pot. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook in the bacon grease until the onion is tender and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and 2 tsp of salt and stir to mix, then cook for 3-4 minutes (do not let the flour brown deeply…reduce heat as needed). While stirring, add the half and half and mix completely. Stir in the chicken stock and white wine. Add the potatoes and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and let cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer about half of the mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Add back to the pot and stir to blend. Reheat over medium high heat until simmering. Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese and cayenne pepper (if using), stirring constantly until fully blended. (Note: doing this step on too high heat will result in the cheese separating from the broth.) Once the cheese is fully incorporated, taste and add salt and pepper to your preference.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with the crisp bacon and chopped chives, along with any other toppings you might be using. Serve and enjoy your delicious cheddar potato soup!