The only bad part of rich hearty soups is that most take hours and hours of cooking. With a few techniques, though, a rich from-scratch soup can be whipped up in about 15 minutes.
This recipe doesn’t cheat and use store-bought stock or bouillon to nail that cooked-all-day flavor. Instead, it relies on high heat, salty fats and an umami kick from a little fish sauce.
Creamy Potato Bacon Soup
- 4 cups hot/boiling water
- 3 cups potato, shredded with skin
- ¾ pound bacon, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 red bell pepper, minced
- ½ cup chives, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sweet onion, minced
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional, see note)
1. Chop, shred and otherwise prep all ingredients. Leave the skin on the potato and shred using a box grater or food processor.
2. In thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, fry the chopped bacon until browned but barely crispy. Stir constantly.
3. Remove 2/ 3 of the bacon and reserve to top the finished soup. Leave remaining bacon and the grease in the pot.
4. Add olive oil. Over high heat while stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot, fry the red pepper, celery, garlic, onion, hot sauce and fish sauce for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the hot/boiling water and the shredded potato and continue cooking over medium-high heat. While stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes until potato is softened.
6. Remove from heat, add all of the heavy cream and 2/ 3 of the chives and purée with a hand or stand blender.
7. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
8. Serve topped with the chopped bacon, remaining chives and garlic Parmesan croutons. More of the heavy cream or even sour cream can be drizzled on top, too.
Note: The fish sauce in the recipe adds depth to the flavor but does not make it “fishy.” If you really want to skip the fish sauce, just taste the soup at the end and add salt as needed to make up for it.
Chad Lebo is the proprietor of Cure Cooking in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, and specializes in curing meats for heritage breed bacon, pancetta, ham steaks and sausages. He also offers cooking classes and private instruction. Cure Cooking’s dry-cured aged country bacon garnered the 2016 Good Food Award in the charcuterie category. Learn more at curecooking.com.