For this week’s Crock Pot Buddies Link-Up, my partner-in-cooking Cristina from centraljerseyworkingmoms.com and I decided that we’d both prepare the same recipe. Cristina likes to joke that I have the “Cadillac” of all crock-pots with my multi-setting, hi-tech Cuisinart Multicooker, while she’s totally old-school, with a classic style crock-pot with just two settings. Cristina had a recipe in mind – Crock Pot Style Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Though I’m not a huge fan of potato soup, it looked easy enough and figured I should open myself up to new meals, so I agreed.
Now, we both were making the same recipe, but would one of us have an advantage over the other? I have to say I got a little nervous. What if my hi-tech wonder wasn’t up to the challenge? Would my own cooking skills (I know, it’s a crock pot – you basically toss and go, but go with me here) be up to par with Cristina’s? We’re both Italian by heritage, and we can debate for hours over each other’s Sunday sauce, but maybe she has an ace up her sleeve, like she’s a culinary institute graduate and just not telling me! You can read Cristina’s take on this week’s recipe by clicking here – but only when you’re done reading & sharing your recipe with me first, OKAY!
I originally planned to make this recipe this past Monday, until I realized you actually have to peel the potatoes for this dish. Prepping spuds while my kidlets ran around the living room on top of the time I still needed to pull myself together for work was not a smart way to start the week. Plus, I had the wrong kind of potatoes! I needed Russet but only had Red Bliss on hand. So Monday night the hubs was sent out to the local supermarket to pick up baking potatoes, garlic, a pint of heavy cream and some sour cream, none of which I had. Note to self: make sure to read weekly Crock Pot Buddies recipe in advance and add those items to Sunday grocery shopping list!
As you might remember from last week, my crock pot is a whopping 7 quart one and most recipes out there are written only for 4 – 5 Qt ones, so I have to make adjustments to accommodate that…and I do it all by that old Italian cooking technique – my gut. So not scientific at all, and I can’t give you exact amounts for increasing to a larger crock-pot, but as the hubs said to me – why not just double the recipe? Well, duh, that would be too easy, wouldn’t it. 😉 Anyway, our local grocery didn’t have large baking potatoes, so the hubs brought home a 5 lb bag – and I wound up just using all of that for this.
Do you know what it’s like to peel five pounds of potatoes? I felt like I was on KP duty.
Potatoes, peeled – now I cut up one large onion, garlic, added butter (I used unsalted), salt/pepper and chicken stock. I had originally planned to make this totally vegetarian, but alas, as I was putting everything together, I realized I had no vegetable stock in the house and the hubs certainly wasn’t up for another supermarket run – so chicken stock would work fine.
I came home that night and it looked a little like mush, but don’t fear, it is supposed to look that way. Remember, those potatoes had cooked for eight hours after all! I took my potato masher and mashed all that goodness up. I added some “taco” flavored shredded cheese and only about ½ the amount of heavy cream. I stirred it up, ladled it into bowls for the hubs & me, put a little dollop of reduced fat sour cream and sprinkled with some chives.
Here’s what my final result – and please keep in mind, I’m no food stylist! I was a little nervous by the lack of spices in this dish, but it was PLENTY flavorful. The potatoes really break down nicely and release all of their goodness, combined with the garlic & onion. It really did taste like a baked potato, only in a liquid form. My main suggestion – plus that of my #1 food critic, the hubs – was that my version wasn’t “soupy” enough. It was pretty thick and hearty. Next time I’ll make sure to add a bit more stock to it to thin it out a bit. I’m sure you can add carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, or even meat to it, just like an actual baked potato. Mmmm-next time, bacon! I had enough left over to store some in an airtight container and pull out for dinner one day next week when I don’t have the time or inclination to make dinner.
So here’s the actual recipe and instructions. All these measurements are for a 4-5 Qt slow cooker…
Crock Pot Style Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8 people; 2 cup serving each
Slow Cook Time: 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW
6 large baking potatoes , peeled, cut in 1/2 -inch cubes
1 large onion , chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup butter
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cream or 1 cup half-and-half cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup sour cream (optional)
8 slices bacon , fried & crumbled
cheese , for sprinkling
1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large crock pot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours. The potatoes should be tender.
2. Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soupy is slightly thickened.
3. Stir in cream, cheese and chives.
4. Optional ingredients – Top with sour cream, sprinkle with bacon and more cheese.
Please link up below your favorite Crock Pot recipe – and don’t forget to share your shortcuts or improvements to the dish! Remember, there’s always time for a home cooked meal with your crock pot!
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