I would say this soup is a once a year type indulgence- if you are on a diet, turn away now. That is how powerful this soup is, even reading the ingredients will make a dieter faint. I made this after reading "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine", by the French Culinary Institute. I went into the grocery story with a very limited knowledge of the fundmantels and a strong desire to make a potato soup that would clog my aerteries but good! I think I found it! Please consider the constitution of people you serve this to! It is not to be fed to the weak. With great soup comes great responsibility. This is not a quick soup or one of the full day-long beauties. It is in-between but it is just what you want when you feel a need to 'splurge.' I reserve the use of this soup for Super Bowl Sundays. And yes, the pun is defintely intended.
- Bake the 4 potatoes. To do this, scrub clean, coat lightly with oil and salt them (Kosher salt strongly preferred) (nay a requirement!). Preheat oven to 400 and bake for 45 minutes. Adjust cooking time to make sure they pierce easily with a fork.
- As the potatoes cook, chop onion and celery and start the bacon.
- Bacon needs to be cut into 1" pieces and cook in a heavy bottom soup pot. Cook on medium heat and take it out when done (I like it crispy).
- Once bacon is done, take out with slotted spoon and set on a plate with paper towel underneath and on top to absorb grease. I must note this is not for health, but for flavor and texture!
- In the grease of the bacon, put in the chopped onion and celery.
- Sautee until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the 4 T butter and stir until it melts. Yes, at first this seems like a lot of grease!
- Sprinkle the flour (sifted if possible) onto the onion/celery mix. Add at least 1/2 cup, up to one full cup. Stirring continuously, this makes a paste.
- You are now basically making a roux with the vegetables- called singering if you want to throw french cuisine words around!
- Stir this until all of the flour and fats are combined smoothly. Keep stirring it another 5 minutes until it becomes a 'blonde' roux (a light tan color).
- Slowly at first (about 1/4 cup at a time) add the chicken broth. Continue to add broth to keep the now paste-like roux softened. Add more and more at a time to get the roux into a creamy texture. It should continue to accept more liquid.
- After about half the broth has been added you can just dump in the rest. However use common sense here. Keep stirring. You never want to let it get too watery.
- Once all the broth has been added, bring in the two 12 oz bottles of beer. Please use a local microbrwery. I use 'winter ale'. Add this a little at a time and continue to stir. Your loving stirring is what is going to make this an awesome soup. I think I already said this, but this soup is to be used for good only. If you are planning on a nefarious use of the soup then go ahead and throw all of the ingredients in at once.
- You (if you are good) will now have a thickly flowing base.
- Cut the baked potatoes into 1" chunks, skins and all.
- Add these to the pot and stir in to incorporate.
- Using an immersion blender (or put batches into a stand up blender), mix the entire mixture into a thick stew. Add water to thin if necessaary. Don't add too much liquid until the blending is done.
- Add 1 Cup sour cream to the soup.
- Add 1 bag of shredded sharp cheese to the soup.
- Let soup cook 10-20 minutes on memdium-low to blend.
- Serve with bacon crumbled on top, some shredded cheese, sour cream and the chopped green onions.(and the pun was soouper bowl in case you did not get it!).