Baked Potato Soup

     It was cold and rainy Saturday night and we had leftover mashed potatoes so Barry decided to make one last batch of winter soup. This was a recipe he made at the Kirby House restaurant and according to him, “I used to make it by the gallon!” This is a downsized version (based on what I included in The Kirby House Cookbook); it can be varied to suit your taste. Barry also explained, “Even though it uses mashed potatoes, it’s called Baked Potato Soup because you add baked potato toppings to finish it off.” 
Baked Potato Soup   Yield: about 7 cups                                   
1/2 cup diced onions                                       
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
About 2 to 2 1/3 cups whole or 2% milk (for a richer soup, 
use part half-and-half)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon *Tex Joy® Steak Seasoning (substitute any spicy blend)

4 to 5 cups warm mashed potatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
  Crisp bacon, crumbled or chopped
  Grated Cheddar cheese
  Chopped green onions or chives

1. In a medium to large saucepan or stock pot, sauté the onions in butter over medium heat until they are tender and translucent. 
2. Stir flour into the butter-onion mixture until smooth to create a roux. Slowly add the chicken stock and about 1 1/2 or 2 cups of the milk; season with Tex Joy®. Stir until smooth and thickened. 
3. Add mashed potatoes to the chicken stock mixture,  stirring until smooth. 
4. Add as much additional milk as needed until soup is desired consistency--similar to a light cream sauce (additional chicken stock may also be used to thin the soup). 
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
6.     When ready to serve, dish up bowls of soup and garnish with crisp bacon, grated cheese, and green onions or chives.

Reheating Tip:
The starch in potatoes will cause this soup to thicken as it cools. So, if you have leftover soup, you’ll need to add extra liquid (milk or broth) as it is reheated.

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