Now, before you start raising your pretty little eyebrows over the heart-stopping grease you can practically smell emanating from the photo below, let me explain. I knew going into this that I was going to be eliminating some of the most flavorful parts of the soup with my healthy swaps, so I didn’t want to sacrifice the most important flavor of all– the bacon. However, if you want to have a completely guilt-free (and probably flavor-free– sorry, I’m showing my prejudice here) potato soup, then leave the bacon out of it and start with some olive oil instead.
If you want to live on the edge, cut up six slices of bacon into one-inch pieces and throw them into the bottom of your soup pot over medium heat. (Totally worth it, by the way).
Let all the fat render and try your best not to burn all the bacon while you chop your veggies. I was mildly successful.
For the veggies, I chopped up one medium onion, 3 celery stalks, and 2 carrots. I am a lamentable chopper. This part took me much longer than it should have.
Aren’t they pretty, though?
Once the bacon is crispy, pull it out with a slotted spoon and throw your veggies into their bacon bath. Resist the urge to climb in the pot with them.
(Feel free to remove as much of the grease as you want, depending on how healthy you’re feeling. The veggies can still pick up a little bacon flavor just from the crusty stuff left on the bottom of the pan. But I’m telling you, bacon grease MAKES this recipe.)
Then, cube the potatoes (I always use Yukon gold potatoes– using anything else is practically criminal once you’ve tasted these in soup) and toss them in the pot with the veggies. Add the chicken broth and bring it to all to a boil.
Let those veggies get soft and tender in their chicken broth hot tub for about ten minutes, until they start feeling all ooey-gooey and romantic.
Then, whisk together your thickener in a bowl. I used arrowroot and coconut milk instead of the traditional roux with butter, flour, and milk. (I know the picture below is of almond milk, but since then I’ve used coconut milk and it is WAY better.)
I don’t have a photo of the whisking of this fun stuff because I am a dunderhead.
Pour it into the soup and let it percolate for about five minutes.
This part is super easy IF you have an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, go buy one. I know that sounds harsh, but trust me– I’ve tried this with a regular blender. You’ll get nothing for your trouble but a lot of burnt fingers and a sweaty face. If you don’t want to buy one, use about five bowls and bit by bit, blend it and return it to the pot.
Using your (hopefully) immersion blender, blend it right in the pot to your desired smoothness. Andrew and I like ours super smooth. If you like chunks in your potato soup, I won’t judge you. Much.
Watch it in action! It’s like a delicious, potatoey volcano.
Stir in some shredded cheddar cheese (if you’re not avoiding dairy), and serve with the bacon bits on top.
My husband, who does not care for all this “healthy stuff,” said the experiment was a success. And he doesn’t mess around with his dinner.
- 6 slices bacon (vegetarian-fed, hormone-free), sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium whole onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 whole carrots, chopped
- 6 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed
- 8 cups reduced sodium organic free range chicken broth
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 6 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- Handful of shredded cheddar cheese (if you’re not dairy-free)
- Before you start cooking, chop your bacon and vegetables so they’re ready to go.
- In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and put it in a paper towel-lined bowl.
- Remove the bacon grease (if desired) and toss in the vegetables. Cook for about 2 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
- Add in the potato cubes and toss with the vegetables and bacon grease. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft.
- Whisk together the arrowroot and coconut milk and stir it into the soup. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Blend the soup in the pot using an immersion blender.
- Stir in the cheddar cheese (if desired) and serve immediately with the crumbled bacon on top.