If you were opening a diner, what’s the first dish you would want to perfect?
Well, if I’m honest, my answer would be pancakes. Can’t have a diner without great pancakes. But earlier this week, I made a bangin’ baked potato soup, and that’s all I can think about right now. Also, it seems like the sort of dish that can put a diner on the map. Yes, every diner needs to be able to make good pancakes, but that means nobody’s really knock for their pancakes, right? But if you were like, “this diner checks all the standard boxes like pancakes and club sandwiches and eggs and bacon, but they also have this rad baked potato soup,” now you’re thinking you’re onto something, right?
So I’m starting with the soup. Here’s how.
First of all, I followed someone else’s recipe (duh…). Frankly, you should use that site as your guide. I followed the recipe (scaled up to 2x, which it does right on the website, which is super helpful!) about as closely as I follow any recipe, which is to say, I used roughly the same ingredients in roughly the same process that they did, but there were some things I did differently.
For instance, instead of 16 pieces of bacon, I used a full package, which was more than that. No brainer there. I liked the amount of flavor from the pepper, of which they tell you to use 1 tsp. I just gave it 22 twists on my grinder (yeah, I counted) until it looked about right. I honestly don’t know how close to a teaspoon that is, but it seemed perfect. Similarly, I didn’t measure the chopped onion; I just did a bunch. I got one of those wide UFO shaped sweet onions, cut it into quarters, and stuck two of them in the Pampered Chef Food Chopper, and that was good. Half of cup of onion is probably roughly the same as half an onion, no?
Also, I thought I had plenty of garlic, so I didn’t buy any when I went to the store for this. Of course, best laid plans… I didn’t have any. A bunch of garlic powder later, I think the soup came out super flavorful and I was pretty happy with it. If you’re going this route (I only had maple-flavored garlic salt, so I didn’t use that), give it more shakes than you think is right but don’t go too nuts. It’s garlic, unless you really overdo it, it’s gonna be great.
The recipe also called for 2 cups of mild cheddar and 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese. We just had mild, so I grated that down with the Microplane Adjustable Coarse Grater until I got tired. It definitely wasn’t 4 cups like the recipe called for, but even 2 cups of cheese plus the 4 cups of lowfat milk, 2 cups of half and half, and 2 cups of sour cream (?! This is getting out of hand.) was going to be enough dairy to weigh the whole thing down. I went light on the dairy and heavy on the chicken stock instead.*
Finally, I dropped in a bag of frozen corn, because it felt like the right thing to do. I’m glad I did that.
The only thing I want to change next time is to skin the potatoes first, if I can. Like the recipe suggested, I microwaved the potatoes instead of baking them, to save time. That worked well enough, but it’s hella difficult to remove the skins from a literally steaming hot potato. If there’s a better way to do that, I’m all ears.
There you have it: great potato soup, some modifications to the recipe based on personal preferences slash laziness, and I’ll be back once my diner is open. Try it!
* A note on measuring the sour cream: I used the Measure-All Cup for this, in what I think was the exact purpose this thing was designed for: it’s a liquid measuring side as well as a dry measuring side. Here’s the rub: sour cream isn’t a liquid (is it?) but it’s not dry. Of course, I interpreted (guessed) wrong: sour cream is considered a liquid for the purposes of the Measure-All Cup. Just a heads up.