The weather in southern Kentucky over the past weekend was a little blah and rainy. I guess it was the tail of hurricane Isaac moving up this way. It wasn't cold, but just dreary and when it's dreary I usually get out my soup pot. We actually eat this soup all year round, just not as much in the really hot weather. It's the soup I make most, because everyone likes this one and I usually always have the ingredients on hand. This is what you will need:
5-6 medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed (Idaho or Russet work well)
3 chicken bullion cubes ( I prefer Knorr)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
enough water to just cover the potatoes
4 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half (can use all whole milk, but it's much creamier with the half and half)
2 cups whole milk
8 oz. block of cream cheese, cubed
1 lb of Velveeta cheese, cubed (can use a good American cheese)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sliced green onions
2 cups chopped bacon cooked crisp
Place the peeled, cubed potatoes in a stock pot or dutch oven. Put just enough water over them to cover them. Don't put more because you are not draining this off. Add the chicken bullion cubes, salt, seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bring this up to a boil and then turn to low to simmer until the potatoes are tender.
While the potatoes cook, we will make a simple white sauce or bechamel...isn't that fancy? My mother always called it a white sauce and it's the one sauce every cook needs to know how to make, because you can do so much with it. So don't stop reading because I said...'bechamel'...lol. I say this because when my son first started cooking for himself and asked how to make this soup, when I got to this step, he lost interest. I am sure he can master it now though. I do mine in the microwave, because it's quick and much easier, but you can do it on the stove. Place 4 Tbs of butter in a bowl and melt, whisk in the flour (plain or self rising...doesn' t matter), cook in the microwave for about 30 seconds or on the stove just until it starts to bubble. This is to cook that raw flour taste out. Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper and then whisk in the half and half and the milk. Cook on hi in the microwave for 3 minutes or on the stove until it starts to bubble. Remove from the microwave and whisk out any of the lumps.
Add the cream cheese and Velveeta cheese cubes. Microwave for another 3 minutes. Remove and whisk again until the cheeses are melted and the sauce is smooth. You might have to place back in the microwave for a minute or 2 and whisk again. This is now a cheese sauce and it should be a thick cheese sauce. If you are doing this on the stove, you need to whisk the whole time after you bring it to a boil and add the cheeses. It will stick if you don't. That is why I like to use the microwave for this. This mixture is added to the potatoes that you have cooked, leaving the water over them, but first take a potato masher or fork and mash the potato cubes a little. Don't pulverize them, but just mashed a few of the slightly. This helps thicken the soup and gives it a good texture. Pour the cheese sauce in the pot and stir to mix it all until it's well incorporated. The sauce should blend with the liquid in the potatoes and become just the right consistency. Taste for salt and pepper. I usually sprinkle the top with a little more seasoned salt.
I like to set out bowls of chopped bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced green onions or chives and let everyone garnish their own.