Thursday, February 7, 2013

Baked Potato Soup {freezer friendly - 24+ Servings}



Becca here with another recipe of a "freezer friendly" series I'm going to be continuing the next few weeks on Tuesdays & Thursdays.  Baked Potato Soup is always a crowd pleaser, and my family is no exception to this rule!  The great thing about this warm & hearty recipe is that it is really economical, even using organic potatoes, and very tasty.  It is also meatless, but I don't think anyone will ever miss it, the soup is very, very rich and makes a great main dish on its own.  In fact, I often serve it with carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, or something else similar & light to balance out the richness of the soup.  I find that it takes far less in quantity to fill everyone up when the recipe is more filling, which is definitely the case here.  Be sure and save the (mostly) hollowed out potato skins, don't throw them away, to make stuffed potato skins, or potato "boats" as my boys like to call then, recipe coming next!  Since the recipe (I based mine on a chowder in this cookbook but made several changes) calls for ten pounds of potatoes, and standing there scrubbing them didn't sound like a fun chore at all, I decided to try out a much quicker (and more fun) method for washing them that I'd seen on a blog recently.  



Yes, I placed them all into my clean and empty dishwasher and ran it on the rinse cycle.  I actually ran it through twice just to be double sure, although they did look nice & scrubbed clean after the first time.  Our Mom happened to be at my house while I was doing this and seemed to think it was a bit (or more) odd that I was loading the dishwasher with potatoes, but I was really happy with the results, and my poor eight-month pregnant feet were too, since I didn't have to stand there scrubbing potatoes!

Baked Potato Soup {Freezer Friendly - 24+ Servings)

10 pounds russet potatoes
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 medium/large onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 Tablespoons granulated garlic (minced would be fine too)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
12 cups chicken broth (I use easy homemade) OR water and bouillon to measure 12 cups
4 cups half & half OR cream
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1" chunks, or grated
storage containers for freezing, if desired (I use 4 gallon freezer ziploc bags for this recipe)
Optional toppings for serving:  shredded cheese, green onions or chives, bacon bits, etc.

Bake clean potatoes on a large baking sheet in the oven at 350 for one hour, or until tender.  Let cool for about 15 minutes.  Cut into half, and scoop flesh out into a large bowl.  I do this carefully and leave a bit of potato on the skin so that I can make stuffed potato skins also (recipe coming Thursday). 

In a large pot (the biggest one you have!), melt butter.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, salt, pepper, and flour and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or two.  The mixture will be thick and like a paste, don't panic!

Gradually stir in broth, half & half, and then potatoes, and continue to heat, stirring ever few minutes, until mixture has thickened, about 30 minutes.  I turn the heat on medium, you don't want it to turn or boil. 

Add cheese, and stir until melted.  Taste and add more salt & pepper, as desired (this will largely depend on the type of broth or bouillon you have used).  Serve immediately, or let cool to room temperature, and freeze into desired portions. 

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