Friday, February 21, 2014

Kat in the Kitchen: Creamy Baked Potato Soup like Panera's


When Chris was working his first job when we were dating, he brought lunch to a lot of the doctor offices that he visited. The most requested source of food was Panera. Chris got to take home any leftovers so his bachelor-with-no-interest-in-cooking diet consisted of cereal, yogurt, chips, salsa, Cinnamon Crunch bagels, Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwiches, Roast Beef Asiago sandwiches, black bean soup and their perfect potato soup. 

Now that we don't get his free Panera goodies, we can't eat out all the time and we are a bit delusional and think that fifteen minutes to drive to the closest Panera is like driving to the opposite end of the country, I've been making potato soup at home. I probably make this soup a little too much. Basically, if you are coming over for dinner or if you recently had a baby, I make potato soup.

Ryan calls it de-wicious, but he also says that both water and plain flour are de-wicious so you might need to take his affirmation with a grain of much needed salt, and take the praise from Chris who is more frugal with the use of the word delicious as a reliable review. 

Creamy Baked Potato Soup

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs butter or oil 
5 lbs potatoes chopped into half-inch pieces (I normally use whatever potatoes are on sale, but if I am making it for someone, I use red potatoes).
8 cups chicken broth (sometimes if I don't have enough chicken broth, I use what I have and add water to make up for the amount missing. Then I add salt and pepper).
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese at room temperature; you could also use plain Greek yogurt, but there will be more of a tangy flavor than creamy.

Optional toppings: bacon, chopped green onions, cheese, chopped spinach (how I sneak more vegetables into Ryan) steamed and chopped carrots. 

1. Peel the potatoes. I leave some of the skin on to give the soup some more flavor and texture. Chop the potatoes, onion and garlic. 
2. Saute onion and garlic in butter or oil in a large pot until caramelized and softened.
3. Add the chopped potatoes to the pot. Cook for a minute, stirring often.
4. Add the chicken broth and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil.
5. Boil until potatoes are fully cooked and tender. 
6. Mash the soup to make the potato pieces smaller and to release some their starches to act as a thickener. 
7. Reduced to low heat and add cream cheese. 
8. Stir until it is melted and creamy. 
9. Enjoy with bacon and chopped green onions. 

Are you a big soup person? Or a Panera fan?

19 comments :

  1. If only you lived in Ohio...looking at this while snuggling a 7 day old little one who won't sleep unless she's being held has me craving it! Looks like John will be heading to Panera tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration--and the late night reading to keep me company!

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    1. I would so bring this to you!! Give that sweet girl some cuddles from me.

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  2. Yum. Potato soup is my absolute favorite! Thanks for the recipe - looks delish!

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  3. Well I'm drooling. Going to try it out next week :)

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  4. Most food makes my stomach turn, right now, so take it as a huge compliment that that picture caught my attention! It looks so good!!

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    1. Glad it overcame that! I hope you like it :)

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  5. Best. Soup. Ever! Thank you for sharing the recipe—this is what I'm having for lunch today!

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  6. This sounds de-wicious! I will have to try this soon! I love your Kat in the Kitchen series, the sweet potato cakes were a hit, by the way! :)

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  7. This recipe looks delicious! Pinning for future use - thanks for sharing. :) And yes, I love a good Panera soup (though I've never had their potato).

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  8. Oh my yes. This looks delicious! And actually sounds much simpler than I've always worked up potato soup to be. I will definitely have to try this. And the Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich? SO GOOD! Long live Panera.

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  9. My sister and brother both worked at Panera when we were in high school and it was the BEST. I miss all the free bagels and pastries!

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  11. Yum! I'm a huge fan of Panera and my husband and I go through our little streaks of eating it 3 times a week and then regretting spending the money/not cooking healthier at home. But it's always worth it ;) The first thing I ever tried from Panera when one opened in my town during high school was a cinnamon crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese. YUM! Still my favorite breakfast/dessert!

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  12. Just made this...Thanks for sharing. It was great.

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  13. Made this for dinner last night -- rave reviews all around!

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  14. Hi, commenting again because I am hosting a recipe exchange bridal shower for my sister this weekend & had to tell you I am giving her this one! We made it once a week when it was colder (as in those 6 years of winter we had in the midwest ;) ) and she was obsessed! So, passing on your delicious recipe to another & sending her in to marriage with at least one recipe I KNOW is good!

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