PEPPER JACK POTATO SOUP
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
by Liz Edmunds
This may be my favorite soup in the world! Sometimes I make it with cream or half-and-half for richer flavor (instead of the evaporated milk), but I think you'll find that the cheese gives all the richness you'll love.
About 10 cups
• 3 strips bacon
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 medium yellow onion, diced
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 1 carrot, peeled and diced
• 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
• 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
• 1½ cups chicken broth
• 2 cups cubed russet potatoes (about 8 ounces)
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
• 8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded
• 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1. Fry the bacon until crisp; drain. Crumble and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and the green and red bell pepper; cook and stir just until the onions are soft. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until the carrots are cooked.
3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a medium saucepan until they are just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the soup with the bacon. Wipe out the pan if necessary and use it for the next step.
4. Melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and turn the heat up slightly and whisk until the mixture is bubbly. Add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Add to the soup.
5. Stir in the cheese and continue to cook until the cheese melts. Do not boil. Add the white pepper, salt, and thyme. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.
Can be made Meatless: Omit the bacon and use vegetable broth (although the bacon gives the soup extra flavor).