Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup

Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup
Dorcas Annette Walker

The snow is falling outside my widow up here in the mountains turning the world into a dazzling white landscape. It is another perfect day for bowl of hot soup. I hear the crackle of the wood burning in my woodstove as it spreads warmth throughout my house. The hot days of summer seem far away on this cold January morning.

Potato soup recalls to memory when we used to plant a fifty pound bag of seed Kenny Beck Irish potatoes. My husband declared there was no better potato around. We tried another brand one year that didn’t do any good- whether it was due to the weather or the fact that we never bothered to plant by the signs I’ll never know as from then on all we planted was Kenny Beck’s. Around here mountain folk religiously plant their gardens by the signs of the moon. My husband always has several major things going at once. While pastoring a church he also took revival and camp meetings with a few tent meetings thrown in, not to mention being active in the conference, which meant usually being on some board. So gardening was not at the top of his list of priorities. Instead we planted our garden whenever he had a day off. I’ll never forget one year when I mentioned to Dana one night at supper that we needed to get our potatoes in the ground as it was getting up in the season and everyone else had planted their potatoes. We were going to leave the next day and be gone the rest of the week. Dana agreed and said that he’d go out and till the ground while I cut up the seed potatoes. The sun was setting by the time we were halfway through. Undeterred I went and got the biggest flashlight we owned and we kept planting potatoes. The next thing I knew our neighbor arrived. Preacher, what in the thunder are you a’doing out here in the middle of the night in your garden? The poor guy was thunderstruck when Dana told him that we were planting our potatoes. Why, Preacher, those potatoes won’t do any good. It’s not the right sign to be planting potatoes now. I can’t remember if the moon was turned up or down as we barely glanced at the moon above us intent on getting our potatoes in the ground. As soon as potato plants appeared I began to hill them up. I was almost done when our neighbor walked over. Honey, what in the world are you a’doing now? You’re going to smother those plants. He was amazed that any potato plants had even appeared. When I hilled my potatoes up the third and fourth time our neighbor was Johnny on the spot. It seemed like he couldn’t stay away. He’d stand at the end of the garden shaking his head and muttering. Those sure a beautiful hills you’re a’makin. It’s a crying shame that you won’t get any potatoes after all the work you’ve put into them. Needless to say he kept close tabs on when we planned to harvest. There was more head shaking at Dana’s casual answer that he’d dig the potatoes whenever he got the time. Summer and autumn that year was busier than our spring had been. I was hard put freezing and canning our garden produce. The nights were getting cold by the time Dana decided to dig our potatoes. I bundled myself and the kids up and went out to the garden with five gallon buckets. Our neighbor was there as Dana dug in the first hill with his shovel. Out rolled the most beautiful batch of large potatoes I had ever seen. I hid a smile as our neighbor began sputtering. Preacher, if I wasn’t seeing it with my own eyes I’d never believe it. Of course a man’s bound to get one good row of potatoes out of Kenny Beck’s. As the kids and I filled the buckets our neighbor followed us down every row. When all the potatoes were finally dug our neighbor was still snorting and shaking his head. Preacher it doesn’t make any sense. Here you go and don’t bother to follow the signs and yet you get a bigger and better crop of potatoes than I did. The good Lord is sure looking out for you. Did you say you planted Kenny Beck’s? I’ve heard when nothing else grows they will. Personally I figured it was a little bit of both.

My Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup is a creamy filling soup that is quick to make using frozen hash browns, yet has the same homemade taste as regular potatoes. For a main meal you can serve Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup with a grilled cheese sandwich adding bacon or ham lunchmeat. For a different twist you could start with a one-half package of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots and mash when cooked. This recipe of Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup takes thirty minutes to prepare and serves six.

Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup

Brown two slices of bacon in a microwave and set aside.
In a large saucepan bring to a boil:
4 c hot water
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
4 frozen hash brown patties (crumbled)
1 tb chopped dried onion
½ tsp salt
crumbled bacon
¼ (32 oz) Velveeta or processed cheese block cut up into chunks
Simmer until melted stirring frequently. Garnish with fresh parsley or crumbled bacon!

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