I've never met a potato I didn't like, and that holds true for soup too. The bacon adds a smoky nuance to the rich flavor. This soup is one of my favorite ways to begin a fall or winter dinner.
Makes 6 to 8 servings | Active time: 20 minutes Minimum cook time: 4 hours in a medium slow cooker
1⁄4 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, trimmed and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pounds redskin potatoes, scrubbed
and cut into 3⁄4-inch dice
4 cups Chicken Stock (page 21)
or purchased stock
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Cook bacon in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and set aside. Discard all but 3 tablespoons bacon grease from the skillet.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Scrape mixture into the slow cooker.
3. Add potatoes, stock, and thyme to the slow cooker, and stir well.
Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
4. If cooking on Low, raise the heat to High. Mash some of vegetables with a potato masher until desired consistency; the more that is mashed the thicker the soup will be. Add 11⁄2 cups cheese and half-and-half, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese melts and soup simmers.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot, sprinkling each serving with crumbled bacon and remaining cheese.
If you’re having problems separating strips of bacon, throw the whole amount into a pan as though it were a single slice. Within a few moments, the bacon will have softened
enough to make it easy to separate
The soup can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat it, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Substitute Swiss cheese for the
cheddar cheese, and add 1 (10-
ounce) package frozen chopped
spinach, thawed and drained well,
along with the cream and cheese.
- Substitute oregano for the thyme,
and add 1 (4-ounce) can chopped
mild green chiles, drained, and
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
to the soup.
- Substitute pancetta for the bacon,
and substitute 1 cup crumbled
Gorgonzola and 1⁄2 cup shredded
fontina for the cheddar.
Cider Mill Press loves slow cookers (especially during our cold Maine winters!), so we've developed a cookbook for every lifestyle! Our eight cookbooks feature everything from Gluten-Free to Paleo to Low-Acid and Low-Carb meals for the slow cooker, with recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and side dishes.