This recipe is actually a slight switchup of one by the late, great King of Soups Ken Kostick. It’s on page 154 of his book Ken’s Soup Crazy which you can apparently still get new through Abe Books, the only version of it that I found was $170 (WHAT), but you can buy used copies on Amazon for under $10. So full disclosure, this recipe is not original. I know people tell me all the time that nothing is “original” anymore with the internet but a little known fact about me is that I started writing as a Canadian University Press journalist (and later editor). I have a massive amount of respect for any creator and I am so, so against sharing intellectual and visual property without giving credit where it’s due and admitting when something isn’t of my creation (even when that means saying “I found this on Pinterest”). Yes, that includes fessing up when it’s actually my mom who came up with something… like this.
Disclaimers aside, this is the best potato soup I have ever had. Ever. The combination of crisp bacon, creamy potatoes and applewood smoked cheddar was so good that I joked to my sister that I could bathe in it. The trick to this soup being so good is twofold- cook your bacon first, then remove it to a paper towel for later. Cook your veggies in the bacon fat for the flavor. Secondly, the applewood smoked cheddar is amazing. Since we’re going through a late winter deep freeze where I live, this seemed like the perfect recipe to share.
This isn’t an affordable meal with all of the bacon and cream and fancy cheese, but it is a delicious one and sometimes that’s important, too. You can easily strip this recipe back to one slice of bacon per serving, which will bring down the cost to roughly $15.85 and $2.64 per serving. If you want to try this out and it’s still a little too expensive for you, try making your own stock and finding the applewood cheddar in the smalls bin of the deli- those little chunks are often really well priced. Those two tips will save 4-5 dollars alone. I try to share the prices for how the average shopper will shop, but for me, this recipe is affordable because I search the sales bins, cut back on meat and make my own stock ($11.65 for 6 servings or $1.91 per serving).
Bacon and Cheddar Potato Soup
Serves six for $18.85 or $3.14 per serving or $11.65 and $1.91 per serving using the tips I mentioned!
1/2 pound of diced bacon – $6.48
1 onion- $0.60
4 large potatoes, peeled- $2.80
8 cups chicken stock- $4.20 (or free if you make your own!)
1 cup applewood smoked cheddar cheese (grate)- $3.48
1/2 cup cream- $1.15
1/2 cup milk- $0.14
Pantry Staples: 1/2 tsp dried basil, 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped parsley
In a large soup pot, saute the bacon. Once crisp, remove the bacon bits and deposit your onion and garlic in its place. Saute for two minutes (if there’s loads of fat, drain some off… you only want about how much oil you’d put in to sautee onions and garlic normally), then add the potatoes, basil and stock. You’ll want to bring this to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked).
Once the potatoes are cooked, use a hand/stick blender to puree the soup until it’s smooth. Then you can add in the milk, cream and cheese and let it simmer until the cheese is fully melted. Garnish with the parsley if you like once you’ve served it in the bowls, but definitely sprinkle some of those bacon bits on top!
Do you have a favorite way to make potato soup? Let me know in the comments below!
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Michael Symon by Ergo Chef 6″ Chef’s Knife •
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