It would seem that fall has fallen upon the Pacific Northwest. We got our one week of summer, later than usual this year, but it was hot for a week none the less. And now the rain has arrived and the leaves are already beginning to fall. Funny how we can water the lawn nightly all summer and still get huge brown splotches, but it rains twice and it’s back to it’s green prettiness. How does that work?

Fall also means that things like soups and stews are back on the menu. Warming foods the comfort the belly and soothe the soul. Did I just say that? Baked Potato Soup was on the menu last night. It’s the one dinner that Genna seems to ask for again and again. I think she just loves anything potato. But who wouldn’t love this soup, easy, tasty, filling, inexpensive and makes great left overs. It’s good.

Baked Potato Soup

4-5 russet potatoes
4 tbsp. unsalted butter (we are just back to using butter at our house, it’s a nice change and cooked dairy seems to be tolerated by our dairy sensitive little people)
½ cup all-purpose flour, divided (GF AP flour)
6 cups 2% milk (I used 1/3 whole milk, 1/3 rice milk and 1/3 chicken stock)
2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup green onions, chopped
1/3-½ cup light sour cream

For topping:
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Bacon pieces

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.  Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork.  Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. (Mommy fail! I didn’t read the recipe before it was time to start dinner, so didn’t realize that our potatoes would need to be  pre-baked. Thankfully our potatoes were on the small side and baked quickly.) Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Scoop the insides of the potatoes into food processor, discarding the peels.  Pulse until the pieces are broken into small chunks. (In the interest of time, I did wait until they were cool enough to handle, but then just smashed them into the soup when it was time to add them)

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter.  Add ¼ cup of flour to the pot and whisk into the butter.  Cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and the rest of the flour.  Cook until thick and bubbling, about 6-8 minutes.  Mix in the potato chunks. (Because my chunks were rather chunky I used the handy dandy submersion blender to blend things a little more – ok, Kevin used the submersion blender, his favorite kitchen tool) Whisk in the salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.  Remove from the heat, stir in the green onions and sour cream.

Serve immediately.  Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon as desired.