Thursday, October 22, 2009

Panera Bread's Baked Potato Soup

Panera Bread is one of my favorite places to hang out . . . rarely do I miss out on a cup of this awesome soup.

4 large baking potatoes
5 slices bacon
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups (6-ounces) grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Scrub potatoes well and prick several times with fork; bake approximately 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out potato pulp; set aside. Discard skins.

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble, and set aside.

In a large soup pot over low heat, add reserved bacon dripping and butter. Add onion and saute approximately 4 to 5 minutes until soft. Stir in flour until well combined; cook for several minutes, but do not let brown. Gradually add milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add potato, salt, pepper, crumbled bacon, and 1 cup cheese.

Stir while cooking until cheese is melted, add in sour cream. Additional milk may be added to adjust thickness.

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