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We’re in the middle of a brutally long winter here in the North, and when you’re already on your fourth month of snow, ice and cold….. and it’s only February ….. there just comes a point when you want a big, steaming bowl of carbs and bacon!

I love soups, and I’ve been experimenting for quite some time with my own recipes. If you’re in the mood for a thick, hearty, warming chowder-like soup, then this might be the recipe for you.

In my opinion, it’s the salty bacon which really brings this soup together. You could make it without the bacon, buuuut… I mean, why bother! Everything is better with bacon. And potatoes on their own aren’t the most flavourful things, so the bacon will enhance all the other ingredients, as well as providing an oil for you to cook with.

This soup could easily be dressed up to make it even more decadent: Grated cheese and a sliced green onion garnish would really take this over the top (think a loaded baked potato!), but it’s not necessary by any stretch, especially if you end up serving this, as I later suggest, with a vinegary side salad.

I love recipes that sound complicated in theory, but that are really easy to pull together, and quickly. If you have an hour? You can make this dynamite soup for dinner tonight!


Bacon and Potato Chowder

~ makes 6-8 bowls ~

4 large potatoes
1/2 cup celery
2 medium onions
5 cups water + 5 tbsp powdered chicken bouillon (or 5 cups chicken stock)
2/3 cup half and half cream
1 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper
Celery salt
325g bacon — one package (cooked and chopped finely)

Rue:

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour (less a tiny bit)
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Cook bacon directly in your soup pot. Drain off most of the grease, leaving a small amount in the pot, and set bacon aside.

Add onions and potatoes to the pot, then pour in the chicken stock. While this is cooking, prepare the rue.

Rue: Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Mix in salt and pepper (this is to taste: you will just have to experiment with the measurement over time). Add flour and using a stiff whisk, stir until combined. Cook the flour for about a minute, lifting the pan up off the element so it doesn’t burn. Slowly pour in half the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce boils and thickens. Then add the remaining milk and boil again. I cannot stress enough that you need to keep stirring this. Remove from heat. (*A good rue has near-equal parts butter and flour, but lean a little heavier on the butter)

Once potatoes are tender, add half and half cream and seasonings to taste. Stir in the rue, and then the sour cream. Add bacon back into the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to come together. (*You CAN blend the soup and then add the bacon after, and I have made it this way many times. However, by adding the bacon before you blend it, it really helps to infuse the soup with a bacon flavour.)

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Like my Cream of Cauliflower recipe, this soup is best served immediately.*

I like to serve this with a nice lettuce, cabbage, tomato, onion and cucumber salad (homemade oil and vinegar dressing), and sourdough bread. The soup is incredibly rich and flavourful, and the heavy acid from the salad will cut through the fat and help your meal eat much lighter and more balanced.

*If you do make this soup ahead of time and need to reheat it, be extra careful as this soup is quite thick and will burn faster than you think. Before you turn the heat back on, stir the soup to unsettle it from the bottom of the pan, then reheat slowly over low-medium heat.

Bon appétit!