Hale & Hearty is one of my favorite places to get lunch when I don't bother to pack my own. And they have amazing potato soups. One of my favorites is their broccoli, cheddar, mashed potato soup. Last time I had it, I vowed to find a way to make my own version. One that wasn't so cream-laden, but still tasted awesome. So I took the interwebs and did a little searching. In the end, I ended up basing my recipe on a Weight Watchers recipe.
This is quite like H&H's, but it comes really close. Maybe an immersion blender will close that gap. Nevertheless, when I took my first spoonful, I decided this soup must be what heaven tastes like. So, without further adieu...
Baked Potato Soup
3 lbs potatoes (about 6 medium)
1 bulb garlic
4 cups chicken broth (I used homemade.)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
12 oz broccoli (I used frozen, the kind you steam right in the bag in the microwave)
favorite spices for seasoning (I found my chicken broth was so well flavored that I didn't need to add any spices, but if you use store bought broth, you may want to taste the soup and season as you choose)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap garlic bulb in foil. Pierce potatoes with fork. Place wrapped garlic bulb and potatoes in oven. No need to use a tray; you can bake them directly on the oven rack. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes for the garlic and 60 minutes for the potatoes.
2. Allow garlic and potatoes to cool. Cut tip off of garlic and squeeze cloves into soup pot. Peel potatoes, cut into pieces, and add to pot with garlic. Mash up garlic and potatoes using a potato masher. Stir in chicken broth and heat on medium and let cook until mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in sour cream, cheese, and cooked broccoli. Season to taste, if necessary. Serve hot.
Garnish suggestions: sour cream, browned butter, scallions, shredded cheese, chopped bacon