Baked Potato Soup
8 large brown potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups Half & Half of a heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup crisp bacon crumbs
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
Scrub the potatoes until the skin is almost removed. Bake in 350-degree oven until donw, about 45 minutes or until you feel no resistance when a fork is inserted. Remove and cool. Chop the potatoes into small 1/4-inch chunks.
In a soup kettle with a heavy bottom, melt the butter and saute the onion until translucent but not brown. Add the parsley and Italian seasoning and stir. Add about 2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. Stir.
Add the chicken stock and potatoes, and bring to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Add the Half & Half and simmer (do not boil) for 20 more minutes, stirring to keep from sticking. Add the sour cream to thicken, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Taste for seasoning, and add salt as needed. Ladle the soup into heated soup bowls, and top with cheese, bacon and chopped green onions. Serves 8 to 10.
Hint: Use this soup as a base for corn chowder, too. When you add the cream, simply add 1 1/2 cups frozen corn and allow to coop 5 minutes longer. Fold in the bacon when you add the sour cream, rather than using it as a garnish.