This hearty soup is perfect for lunch or dinner on those chilly autumn and winter days. It's made with Idaho potatoes, celery, onion, heavy cream and basil, and garnished with scallions, crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese. Yum.
- 4 large Idaho baking potatoes (or 5 medium)
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 3 medium ribs celery, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 1 quart half-and-half
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
- 1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 Teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
- 1/8 Teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Frank's or Tabasco, or to taste
- 2 Tablespoons dry basil leaves, crushed
- Chopped scallions, for garnish
- Crisp, crumbled bacon, for garnish
- Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 F. Scrub 4 large (or 5 medium) Idaho baking potatoes and prick in several places with a kitchen fork. Place directly on the oven rack in the center of the oven and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
Step 2: Peel and cut the potatoes into scant 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.
Step 3: In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add 3 chopped celery ribs and 1 chopped small yellow onion and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until translucent.
Step 4: Add 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour to make a roux, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly add 1 quart heavy cream and 1 quart half-and-half, stirring or whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Step 5: When the mixture is hot but not yet simmering, whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken base. Keep whisking until the base is completely dissolved.
Step 6: Stir in 1 tablespoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce and 2 tablespoons dry basil leaves. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook about 1 minute.
Step 7: Add the diced potatoes, return to a simmer and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Step 8: Serve immediately or cool, cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Reheat slowly over medium-low heat. To serve, top each serving with about a teaspoon each of chopped scallions, bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese.