I’ll admit it right now.. I’ve always been a winter hater. Waking up extra early to scrape about an inch of ice off your windshield, white knuckle driving icy/snowy roads, negative temperatures that give you a brain freeze when you step outside… I can keep going, but I think you get the picture. We got our first taste of what’s to come when it snowed a few days before Halloween. I did my best to enjoy how pretty the falling snow was and make some hearty, filling, warming to the bones kind of soup… that of course involved beer… and I came up with this Loaded Baked Potato IPA Soup.
If a baked potato and beer cheese soup had a delicious baby.. this would be it. Made with chunks of baked potato, double smoked bacon, white cheddar, and Exile’s Dankalope IPA. I served mine up with some freshly baked sourdough bread and of course an icy cold beer to wash it down. If this is what winter could be like.. I think this might be the year I finally embrace it!
Loaded Baked Potato IPA Soup
(makes 6 servings)
4 medium sized potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed
1/2lb double smoked bacon
1 large white onion
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (12oz) bottle of your favorite IPA (I used Exile’s Dankalope IPA)
2 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups of almond milk (regular works fine too)
12oz white cheddar, shredded
1 tsp cracked black pepper
(I usually skip salt because the bacon and bacon grease everything cooks in has enough)
Extra shredded cheese
Extra chunks of bacon
Green onion, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and stab your poor little potatoes several times with a fork. Place them on a cookie sheet and place in the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes. Once they’re finished cooking and they’re cool enough to handle, peel the skins off and chop the potatoes into bite sized chunks.
While the potatoes are baking and cooling you can get everything else prepped.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until it’s just about crisp. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside to cool. Once cooled, chop into small pieces. Keep a teaspoon or two reserved to sprinkle on top of the soup before serving.
Drain most of the bacon grease, reserving about a tablespoon or two in the pan. Return the skillet to the cook-top and add onion and jalapeño. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes and then add minced garlic. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes or until onions become translucent and tender.
Next you’ll pour in a bottle of your favorite IPA. I love Exile’s Dankalope IPA.. I mean, how can you resist a beer with a cute little hop riding a motorcycle through the desert? Let the beer cook down a bit, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add in chicken broth and bring to simmer before reducing the heat to low.
In a big stock pot over low to medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk in until smooth. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture thickens up. Make sure to whisk every so often so it doesn’t burn. Slowly add small handfuls of the shredded cheese and whisk until melted in. Continue until you’ve added all the cheese.
Carefully pour your skillet mixture into the big stock pot, add potato chunks, bacon, and season with pepper. Again, you shouldn’t need to add salt with the saltiness from the bacon and bacon grease, but if you’re a salt lover.. go ahead and season to your liking!
Stir all of your ingredients together until completely mixed. Dish it up into bowls, top with extra cheese, bacon bits, green onion, and a dash of paprika. Serve it up with some tasty bread and some tasty beers!