Remember the steakhouse dinner of the 1970s? Or the 1980s? Oh hell, it's probably still this way at the Ponderosa -- I have no idea. A big slab of beef, accompanied by unlimited trips to the salad bar (I somehow always managed to smack my forehead on the sneezeguard) and a "loaded baked potato", usually showing up on the plate still inside its little foil jacket, split, steaming and heaped with melting butter, sour cream, less-than-fresh chives and, if you were lucky, a big old handful of shredded cheese.
And then remember the 1990s, when the "loaded baked potato" became a meal unto itself? And purported to be a healthy meal because you jammed it full of a bunch of steamed broccoli, which then became a joke because you "drizzled" it with a boatload of melted Velveeta.
So, remember all that? Good. Because this baked potato soup has nothing to do with those kinds of baked potatoes.
This baked potato soup retains all the warm, creamy, heartiness of baked potatoes but leaves out the unwanted fat and calories that you often find in baked potato soup when it is made with cream.
(Come on, it's still Detox January -- you know I'm not cooking with cream.)
This version of baked potato soup gets its creaminess from rich Greek yogurt and skim milk -- very acceptable, detoxy alternatives to heavy cream and sour cream that don't mess with the rich flavors. But don't be fooled: just because this is a lightened soup doesn't mean that it's not hearty and filling. It makes a great dinner, paired with a green salad, and makes plenty for lunch leftovers.
You can top each serving of the soup with crumbled bacon or my new favorite alternative: frizzled prosciutto. To make it, simply place a wire rack on a baking sheet and layer on a few slices of prosciutto. Bake the prosciutto at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until it starts to look crispy and curls a bit. Cool it and cut it into strips or dice it.
Are you a baked potato soup fan? What are you favorite toppings? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.
Baked Potato Soup (adapted from Cooking Light)
2 - 2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes
2/3 cup flour
6 cups skim milk
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping (I use Cabot Seriously Sharp)
1 cup no-fat plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup sliced green onions, plus more for topping
salt and pepper
crumbled bacon or frizzled prosciutto for topping
Cook the potatoes by piercing them several times with a fork and then microwaving them on HIGH for about 13-15 minutes or until tender. Let cool until easy to handle, then remove flesh from the skins, coarsely mash the flesh and set aside (discard skins).
Meanwhile, in a soup pot whisk together the milk and flour until smooth. Cook until slightly thickened and nice and hot but not boiling (roughly 10 minutes). Add in the mashed potatoes, cheese and salt and pepper to taste (you'll need a bit), stirring until the cheese is melted. Turn heat to low and stir in the yogurt and green onion (blend well). Heat through and serve, topped with additional green onion, a sprinkle of cheese and crumbled bacon or frizzled prosciutto.