It’s been a bit chilly lately and felt like time to warm up with a bowl of one of my favorite soups.  This recipe will make a stock pot full but get your spoons ready because it won’t last long, at least not at my house.  When Cameron smells the soup it disappears faster than you can say “time to eat”.   It’s creamy and packed with flavor and will warm your heart and make you smile.  Also, it’s a Paul Prudhomme classic so it has to be good!

The spices sets this soup apart from others.

You may have noticed, I like to layer my spices so they look pretty.  We’ve got salt, dry mustard, onion and garlic powder, white pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Now for the heart of the soup, good ole potatoes and 1 large onion.  You’ll need 7 – 8 large potatoes in all.

Grate 1 cup of onion, about 1/2 of a large onion.

Slice the other half of the onion into thin slices.  Peel potatoes and grate 3 cups of potatoes and the remaining into a small dice.  Should be about 8 cups of potatoes in all.

Took a little time but they are all sliced, diced and grated.

Here’s some more items were going to need, chicken stock, milk, butter, half and half and bacon.

It’s time to get started.  Place 1 whole stick of butter into a large stock pot over medium high heat.

Once the butter has melted, add the grated potatoes and onions.  Stir the pot with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pot when the mixture begins to stick.

It will become pasty and start to stick to the bottom.  Continue stirring making sure to scrape up the bottom for 5 minutes or so until it becomes a dark brown on the bottom of the pot. This is what is going to thicken our soup.

See how it sticks and starting to turn brown.

After about 5 minutes the grated potatoes and onions should be starchy, pasty goo and the bottom of the pot a nice brown color.  Add 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mixture and stir.

Add 1 cup of chicken stock to the potato onion mixture.  Scrape up the crust on the bottom of the pot.

Add 3 cups more stock and scrape the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil.

Pour in the 6 cups of milk.

Add the remaining stock.  Note:  One box of stock isn’t enough for this recipe, you’ll need one extra cup.  If I don’t have enough stock on hand I dissolve 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon per cup of water.

Time to add the rest of the seasoning mix.  Once you have the milk, stock and seasonings added, cook 2 minutes.

Add the diced potatoes to the pot.  Be careful, these guys tend to make a splash.  Cook 2 more minutes.

Add the onion slices.  Stir the pot and scrape the bottom from time to time.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Make sure to keep watch on the pot so it doesn’t boil over.  You don’t know how many times this soup has gotten away from me and boiled over.  Actually I almost boiled this pot of soup over but don’t tell anyone.

After about 15 minutes it starts to look creamier and the onions start to float.  Check the potatoes to see if they are soft.  If so the soup is almost ready.  If not let the soup continue to simmer an additional 5 -10 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, it’s a great time to get out the bacon and slice it into small pieces.  I used 8 slices of bacon.

Fry it up nice and crisp.

Back to the soup.  It’s nice and creamy and our potatoes are cooked through.  Time to add the final 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of half and half.   Stir while the butter melts into the soup.

Add the crispy bacon last.

Ladle it into a bowl.  You’ll be surprised how good this soup will make you feel.  I couldn’t resist a little green onion to top it off.

Creamy Potato Soup  (adapted from Paul Prudhomme’s “Milwaukee Potato Soup”)

Seasoning Mix

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon White Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

8 large Potatoes
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, in all
1 large Onion
8 slices Bacon, sliced into thin pieces
5 cups Chicken Stock
6 cups Milk
1 cup Half and Half

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Cut a large onion in half and grate 1/2 onion on the large holes of a hand grater making 1 cup. Slice the remaining 1/2 onion into thin slices. Peel the potatoes and using the hand grater, grate enough potatoes to make 3 cups.  Cut the remaining potatoes into a small dice.  There should be 8 cups of potatoes in all.

Place a large stock pot over medium high heat.  Add 1 stick of unsalted butter and melt.  Add the grated potatoes and grated onions to the pot and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot until the mixture begins to stick.  Continue to stir and scrape the bottom of the stock pot for 5 – 7 minutes.  The mixture will begin to stick hard, but don’t let it get too dark or the soup will have a burnt taste.  The mixture will become pasty.  Add 1 cup of chicken stock and scrape up the crust from the bottom of the pot.  Add 3 more cups of the stock and bring to a boil.  Add the 6 cups of milk, remaining chicken stock, diced potatoes and remaining seasoning mix and cook 2 minutes.  Add the sliced onions and once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 -25 minutes (until the potatoes are cooked through), continuing to scrape the bottom of the stock pot from time to time.

While the soup is simmering, place the cut bacon slices into a skillet and cook until crisp.  Remove to a place lined with a paper towel.  Set aside.

When the potatoes have cooked through, add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 cup half and half, and bacon.  Stir the soup until the butter has melted and soup is creamy. Ladle into soup bowls.

Makes 8 – 10 servings