This soup really is a heavily bastardized version of caldo verde. I'm very familiar with this fact, as I started out a few years ago making caldo verde, and it has finally evolved into this slightly different version that you see below. I like the play of the bacon to the potatoes more so than any sausage that I have tried, and a good quality raw cheddar cheese seemed like a natural topping for a soup that already tasted like a bacon stuffed baked potato.
To start, get yourself a big sack of potatoes. I would highly recommend going with a gold potato or even a red potato, as baking or russet potatoes don't really lend themselves well to this recipe. Below you'll see that I went with some beautiful yukon golds.
|Yukon Gold, baby.|
|My dad used to tell me how much fun he had peeling potatoes in the navy.|
|Bacon has magical properties on the internet, right?|
|Looking Better. We can just stop here, right?|
beef stock for a heavy dose of nutrients and some excellent background flavor notes. Chicken stock would work very well, too.
|If I can put bone stock into something, I will put bone stock into something.|
|Just hanging out and getting friendly|
OK, the lacinato is also a darker color and is not as crinkly, so it does look a lot better in soups like this. That's actually what drew me to it in the first place. Anyway, shortly before it's time to serve, stir the sliced kale into the soup and just cook it for about 10-15 minutes at most. It will turn a very mice shade of green and be soft without totally falling apart. The soup is very rich and savory, and the sturdy green of the kale (lacinato or otherwise) juxtaposes this in a wonderful way. I elected to top the soup with some freshly shredded raw cheddar cheese, which was very good, or you can omit the cheese and just enjoy it how it is. I put it into a hot thermos and sent it off with Christa for lunch.
So, in summary:
Creamy Potato Bacon Soup
- 5 lbs of yellow potatoes
- 16-18 ounces of good thick cut bacon
- 1 quart of beef stock
- 1 head of lacinato kale (or regular kale)
- cheddar cheese to taste (optional)
1) Peel potatoes and place in bowl of cool water with some vitamin C (to prevent oxidation)
2) Cut potatoes into 1/4" thick slices and return to water to continue soaking.
3) Dice the bacon and fry until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, and reserve all but 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon grease for other projects. In this 2-3 tablespoons of grease, toss the sliced potatoes to brown. Meanwhile, reduce the soaking water to roughly one quart in volume.
4) Once potatoes are brown, add reduced water and beef stock. Simmer until the potatoes are soft.
5) Blend the potatoes in their cooking liquid until smooth. Add the bacon to this and simmer for a few hours to meld the flavors together. I used a slow cooker for this part of the process because it was just much easier than manning a pot.
6) Shortly before serving, stir the sliced kale into the soup to cook. It won't take long for the kale to turn emerald green. Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese.