Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Potato Soup

It's cold.  I don't just mean cool.  I'm talking ridiculously frigid-type cold.  I think the high today was 18.  I moved from Michigan to get away from all that.  It's not supposed to be that cold here in Tennessee.  But it is and I have no control over that so I guess I'll deal with it the best I can.  Being that it is so cold, I thought that I nice, steaming bowl of potato soup sounded awfully good. Now this isn't your ordinary potato soup.  This is my own interpretation of what potato soup should be.  This has chicken, corn, bacon and potatoes mixed into a cheesy base. But to me, the best part is that I can mix this wonderful soup up in a little over 30 minutes. Which is a big bonus when rushed for time and needing to get something on the table quickly.  Now I know it's just a personal opinion, but I will probably be arrested for assault because this soup just attacks the taste buds and assaults the palate. So make sure you give it a try and let me know what you think.  10-4?

We start by sauteing our onions and  bell peppers in butter and olive oil.  I add the olive oil so I can raise the heat but not burn the butter.

Add in the diced cooked chicken, the crumbled bacon and whatever seasonings you want to use and mix well.  You will notice I don't list specific seasonings and that is for a couple of reasons.  First, I never really measure my seasonings and sort of ad lib it when I am cooking.  Secondly, I want to leave it up to the reader to use their favorites because where I may use thyme in a dish, you may not like thyme.  So that is why I just say add seasonings.

Next we stir in the chicken broth and soup and stir well to combine.  Once we bring that to a simmer its time to add our potatoes.

You will notice that I chose to use frozen hash browns instead of fresh potatoes.  I did this for convenience and as a time saver.  You can feel free to peel and dice two pounds of russets if you want, but this is so much easier. Once you add the hash browns, stir gently to break up the frozen potatoes.  

After you have them separated, simmer until the potatoes are 2/3 of the way cooked.  It's now time to add our corn. Allow everything to simmer until the potatoes and corn are both heated through.

Add your cheese sauce and mix well to combine.  I used Tostitos Salsa con Queso because I like the taste and spice that it gives the soup.  You could use a few cups of shredded cheese and I have even used canned cheddar soup when I was in a pinch.

Finally I added the instant mashed potatoes.  This not only acts as a thickener but helps reinforce the potato flavor of the soup.  I start with a cup and then add more as needed until it reaches the consistency that I like.  So, as you can see, the actual amount is solely at your discretion.  

After all that, we end up with this bowl of golden cheesy potatoey (I know it's not actually a word but hey, it's my blog) gooey goodness!  Grab a spoon and enjoy.

Cheesy Chicken Potato Soup Recipe

Ingredients -
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green onion
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • Seasonings, as desired (I used salt, pepper and a little cumin, to taste)
  • 3-4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Family Size can of Cream of Chicken soup (or 2 regular cans)
  • 2 pounds frozen hash browns
  • 2 packages frozen sweet corn
  • 1 jar of cheese sauce (I used Tostitos Salsa con Queso)
  • 1-2 cups instant mashed potatoes
  • Shredded cheese

Instructions -
  1. Add butter to a large stock pot over medium heat.  When butter is melted and the pan is hot, add olive oil.
  2. Add the pepper and onions.  Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the chicken, bacon and seasonings.  Mix well.
  4. Add the stock and soup making sure you stir well to combine.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the frozen hash browns and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.
  6. Add the corn and cook for an additional 5 minutes until both the corn and potatoes are heated through.
  7. Add the cheese sauce and mix well to combine.
  8. Stir in one (1) cup of the instant mashed potatoes and stir until thickened. (If the soup is not as thick as you would like, gradually add the remaining cup of instant potatoes until it reaches the consistency you want.)
  9. Ladle into bowls, top with some shredded cheese, grab a spoon and enjoy.

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