Outback Steakhouse Potato Soup (chefpablos)

4 large or up to 8 small potatoes
Kosher salt
vegetable oil
2 sticks butter
1 onion, diced
3/4 c flour
48 oz chicken broth
2 c water
celery salt to taste
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t sugar
1 1/2 c heavy cream
4 – 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
chopped chives (opt)
2 c shredded Monterrey Jack / Cheddar cheese blend.

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Rinse and scrub the skins of the potatoes and dry with a towel and then pierce each potato several times with a fork. Place a small amount of oil in your hands and coat each potato and then sprinkle each one with Kosher salt. Place in the oven, directly on the rack (no cookie sheet and NO foil!) Bake approx 60 min. In a large pot, cook your bacon, turning it frequently until just crispy. Leave the grease from the bacon for the next step (yes, it’s unhealthy, I know). In the same pot, melt the butter with the bacon grease, over a low to medium heat, being careful not to burn it. Add onion and cook until softened. Add flour and stir while it cooks for about 3 min, using a rubber spatula to loosen any bits of bacon stuck to the bottom (yum!) Slowly add chicken broth, water, salt, pepper, basil and sugar, bringing to a boil and stirring often with a whisk. Gradually add the heavy cream until you’ve reached the proper consistency. Chop the potatoes into bite sized cubes and add to the soup and simmer for approx 5 min to bring the potatoes to temp (remember, they’re already cooked.. so don’t overdo it). Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with chopped bacon, chives and the cheese blend.

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