There is something about the wintertime that makes me want to eat soup. I’m sure some of it is the cold and the snow (not that we have much yet this year, still dreaming of a White Christmas) and I think some is a reflection of an urge to have a full, warm tummy and hibernate. Anyway, one of my favorite soups is our Bacon Potato Soup. This is a great creamy soup with big chunks of potatoes and a little (or a lot, I won’t judge) salty bacon for balance. Bacon Potato Soup is a great soup for reheating, so I tend to make a big ol’ pot of it and we munch it down for a few days following the initial make. Day 2 to Day 3 is my favorite, when I think the flavors are at their peak.
One of the tricks with Bacon Potato Soup is using Ultra Gel as our thickening agent. Unlike a flour based roux, the Ultra Gel won’t separate and go grainy in the fridge, so the leftovers are easy. As well because Ultra Gel can be added at any temperature the milk doesn’t have to boil and so you have a lot fewer problems with boil over or scorching.
When it comes to the potatoes I prefer Yukon gold potatoes in bacon potato soup. This type of potato holds up a bit better under heat and takes on a really nice caramelization which adds a rich flavor to the entire soup. Russets will also work, but you just have to be really careful not to over-cook them so they don’t go to mush.
Mmm…now I’m hungry. Off to heat up a bowl! Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
Bacon Potato Soup
6 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
4 ribs of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 large yukon gold potatoes, cubed
6 cups of milk
Ultra Gel (I generally use about 1/2-3/4 of a cup for a medium thickness. Your milage may vary depending on the fat content of your milk and the total milk you add)
salt and pepper to taste
In the bottom of a heavy pot fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon leaving 2-3 Tbps bacon grease in the pan. Add veggies to the grease and simmer until slightly browned and tender. Add potatoes and a little salt and pepper and cook until tender. Pour in milk and heat to cooking temperature (about 180 degrees or just shy of boiling). Mix in Ultra Gel and stir until smooth, add bacon back in. Serve once desired thickeness is reached. I like it with club crackers, but my boys top their soup with cheese and more bacon.
Note: If you have trouble with the Ultra Gel lumping because it’s hard to stir around the potatoes, just hold back about 2 cups of the milk and add the Ultra Gel to that before adding it to the main soup.