Now that the cooler weather has settled in, I’m going to try to make a conscious effort to use my slow cooker more often. It’s so wonderful to put something in, switch it to “on” – and then hours later, a meal is hot and ready for you after a long day. My problem seems to be that I get in a rut with the recipes I make with it.
When Josie posted this a couple of weeks ago, I immediately put it on our menu plan for the following week. Couldn’t have been easier, and the results were phenomenal. A little bit of peeling and chopping, cooking the bacon, then sauteing the onion in some of the bacon drippings. That really helps to deepen and layer the flavors – something that’s not typically found in Crockpot recipes. Leave it to our friends at America’s Test Kitchen to share such a great recipe. I’ll definitely be adding their slow-cooker cookbook to my wishlist for Santa this year! Can’t wait to give some of the other recipes a try.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 lbs Russet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
sliced scallions, sliced
Cook the bacon in a large over medium heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate until serving. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper, cook for an additional minute or so. Add the flour, and allow to cook for a minute or so, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture is starting to thicken, then transfer to the slow cooker.
Stir in the remaining 3 cups of broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, 6-8 hours on low (or 4 hours on high).
Transfer 3 cups of cooked potatoes to a medium bowl with the cream and mash until smooth using a potato masher. Return the potatoes to the slow cooker, along with the shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir to combine and let the soup sit until heated through, about 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, microwave the bacon on the plate until hot and crispy, about 30 seconds. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with bacon, shredded cheese, and scallions.