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Chef Gina Veneziano Makes Loaded Potato Soup

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With my last two soup recipes being a savory chili and a healthy kale soup, and the arrival of colder weather – I have been craving a good, old-fashioned, creamy, thick soup. I’ve always enjoyed Loaded Baked Potato soup at restaurants but have never actually made it. I figured I’d give it a try and was pleasantly surprised that it was simple and quick enough to make on a weeknight. I will say, however, this isn’t necessarily a healthy recipe…although, isn’t it considered healthy to treat yourself every now and then? And since the recipe itself isn’t hard at all, I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight a few cooking tips and tricks while we are at it, that helped me keep this recipe quick and easy to prepare. 

Knife skills are the number one thing I am asked about when people want to learn to cook. The most important thing I can tell you is, make sure your knives are sharp. A sharper knife is much less dangerous since you don’t have to fight the food to cut it and perhaps contrary to popular belief, a sharper knife actually hurts less if you do cut yourself (this, a clean-cut vs. a jagged one that you’d get from a dull knife). The second quick knife skills tip is to think about the application in which this ingredient is being used; for instance, this soup is “rustic” and ultimately will be blended so not every ingredient has to be uniformly the same size, however, you do want the potatoes to be somewhat similar in size so they will cook at the same rate. 

My second time-saver in the kitchen is: everything in its place –  this will help you cook quicker and more efficiently, since another “worry” I often hear about cooking from scratch is that it takes too long. This recipe didn’t take me much time at all, with a little organization and prep work, you can have this soup on the table within the hour. Reading the recipe all the way through before you begin, then doing all of your cutting and measuring first, before you actually start cooking will help tremendously. 

If it really encourages you to cook more, buy the store-bought, pre-cut vegetables if you prefer. While they are a bit more expensive than whole vegetables, it’s my philosophy that if it gets you cooking, then do it! Even with this being a “heavier” soup it is still healthier when it’s homemade vs. store-bought, as commercial kitchens often add additives to prolong the shelf-life or make the batch stretch further. Additionally, making it on your own gives you the ability to adjust taste and consistency to your liking – and this one turned out exactly how we like it – comforting and filling. Enjoy!

Loaded Potato Soup

Prep Time: 25 min

Servings: 4-6 Bowls

Ingredients

  • 6 STRIPS BACON*, CUT INTO SMALL PIECES
  • 3 TBS BUTTER
  • 1 MEDIUM ONION, CHOPPED
  • 3 LARGE GARLIC CLOVES, MINCED
  • 1/3 CUP FLOUR*
  • 2 ½ LBS WHITE POTATOES, CUBED; APPROX. 5-6 MEDIUM POTATOES
  • 4 CUPS CHICKEN BROTH*
  • 2 CUPS MILK
  • 1 CUP HEAVY CREAM
  • 1 CUP SOUR CREAM
  • SHREDDED CHEESE AND CHOPPED CHIVES FOR GARNISH AS DESIRED

Directions

Tips

  • Personally, I cook bacon in the microwave. It’s quicker (done in 8 minutes) and less messy as it doesn’t produce as much grease. Set for 4 minutes, flip and give it an additional 4 minutes on a plate covered with a paper towel. 
  • The flour simply makes this soup a little thicker, if gluten-free, this step is not necessary for the taste. Simply omit. In fact, the recipe could also be vegetarian if bacon is omitted and vegetable stock is used instead of chicken broth. 
  • As someone who is always is looking for shortcuts, I used a potato masher to “blend” the potatoes right there within the soup. Another method is removing the soup from the pot and putting into the blender, in batches, or using an emulsion blender directly inside the pot. Personally, I didn’t mind a bit chunkier consistency so a potato masher worked fine.
  • I also didn’t add shredded cheese (I know, I even shocked myself) but this soup was already creamy and decadent enough.

About Chef Gina Veneziano

Chef Gina has spent a lifetime in food – from the butcher shop to food trucks, and catering kitchens to innovation kitchens. She prides herself on being the only person to successfully recreate her grandmother’s famous meatballs. You can usually catch her, apron on, and a glass of prosecco in hand – cheers!

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