Now that we've moved and Caroline has been in school for a few weeks, we've developed a little routine. She doesn't have school on Monday, so we usually run some errands in the morning, have lunch while we're out, then after Smith takes a nap, we go do something fun - library, playground, go shopping, etc. So with busy days, I don't really have the energy to make a big elaborate dinner that night. Enter the crockpot. I've been making crockpot meals the past few weeks, and it's been perfect. We enjoy a super easy and low-maintenance meal to start off the week, I have lunches for myself all week long, and then there's usually enough leftover for another dinner later in the week. Win, win, win.
Baked potato soup has long been a favorite of mine, so I was excited to try this version. It's "loaded." Meaning there's bacon, cheese, scallions, and sour cream. Hard to go wrong with that, isn't it? It does take a few minutes to prep for the slow cooker - peel and chop the potatoes, cook the bacon and onions... but I did the prep work while the kids were occupied eating snacks, and it was no big deal.
The soup cooks for a few hours, then some of the potatoes are removed, mashed with a little bit of cream, and returned to the crockpot to thicken up the rest of the soup. Joey, Caroline, and I all really loved this soup, and even Smith was a fan. As soups typically do, this one gets better as the days go by. By the end of the week I dare say it tasted even better than the first night!
Busy days and cooler weather call for crockpots and soup, and this one is most definitely a winner!
Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
- 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 lbs Russet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 oz), plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine)
- salt and pepper
- sliced scallions, minced
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate until serving. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, an additional minute or so. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until the mixture is starting to thicken, then transfer to the slow cooker.
Stir in the remaining 3 cups of broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low (I think it could even go a bit longer than this and be fine).
Transfer 3 cups of cooked potatoes to a medium bowl with the cream and mash until smooth using a potato masher. Return the potatoes to the slow cooker, along with the shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir to combine and let the soup sit until heated all the way through, about 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, microwave the bacon on the plate until hot and crispy, about 30 seconds. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with bacon, shredded cheese, and scallions.