When I read this month’s assignment for the series I’m working on with Swanson®, asking us to create a dish for a slow cooker, I have to admit my thoughts went immediately to wondering if I could use a pressure cooker instead. I’m sort of going pressure cooker crazy lately and I thought it would be fun to try making this Creamy Potato Soup with Beer and Bacon using one, until a conversation with a good friend helped me see the light and I had a change of heart.
I work from home and using a pressure cooker works well for me during the week, but she reminded me that a slow cooker is often more valuable for her since she travels to an office each day. While we both love how quickly a pressure cooker can accomplish something, for her, it’s not always the quickest way to get a meal on the table after work and she still loves the convenience of putting ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning and having dinner ready when she arrives home that evening.
Point taken and slow cooker it was. To be honest, I was ready to give my slow cooker away but this was a great lesson for me as evidenced by the quick snap I took of my kitchen this past weekend. A Mexican flavored pork butt is in one pressure cooker for pulled pork, rice is in another and this Creamy Potato Soup with Beer and Bacon is in the trusty slow cooker.
Even though I have the luxury of working from home, my job often requires time away from the office too. I might be meeting with a networking group or a chef, tasting a menu at a new restaurant, or attending an event put on by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and, as a result, I try to do the bulk of my cooking on weekends. That doesn’t always work though and I was reminded of just how valuable this appliance can be in the kitchen.
This soup was so easy and so good and I know you will love coming home to a meal that took only minutes to prepare and can be served within a few more minutes of walking in the door. You will need to prep the bacon and spinach on your stove-top before serving but it’s fifteen minutes tops and so worth it. Everything is better with bacon, right?
I’m not sure why I thought of adding beer to a potato soup; I think sometime in years past I’ve made a Beer Cheese Potato soup and so thought I would try it and it added a nice flavor component. If you don’t drink beer, just substitute it with additional Swanson® Organic Free-Range Chicken Stock.
Also, I know this might not be conventional but one step you won’t have to take that will save you some time? Don’t bother peeling the potatoes. I seldom peel them for anything; I’ve grown to love the color that baby red potatoes add to potato salad and I just like a rustic potato mash better too. I brought those experiences into this recipe and it’s a nice time-saver; especially since this soup is blended after it’s cooked.
Last but never least, this isn’t really a cheesy soup per se, but I do love adding Parmesan rind to almost any soup or stew I make. I simply cut them into chunks after I cut them off the cheese and keep them in the freezer. If this is something you normally toss, don’t…they are a really nice flavor component. If you don’t buy your Parmesan on the rind, just add a bit to the soup while it’s cooking and it will do the same thing.
This soup wasn’t my original plan. I had planned to make a slow cooker version of my favorite French Onion Soup, however our challenge this month from Swanson was ‘Slow Cooker Staples’ and we were asked to simplify a weekday meal with a slow cooker dish that brings flavor and ease to a winter cooking routine using any one of the Swanson® Stock of Broth products.
My plans for the French Onion Soup indeed seemed simple enough and I’ve always made it using Swanson® Beef Stock so I thought it would fit the parameters, but I had second thoughts about whether it was really simplified enough for a weeknight meal. It would require cooking the onions one day and making the soup the next and as women do, I changed my mind. I might still work that recipe for a slow cooker one day but I decided I wanted something that would be as simple as throwing everything into the pot and done. The good news for all of us is that I loved this soup and I’ve now got a new recipe in my repertoire and several individual servings in the freezer. Perfect!
It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it makes a great presentation; perfect for a chilly winter night for your family’s meal or when watching a seasonal sporting event and serving several guests. My Broncos bit the dust early this year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a Super Bowl party and this soup will most definitely be on my menu! How about yours? And because I always pick a favorite based on totally unscientific reasons? Go Falcons!!
Creamy Potato Soup with Beer and Bacon
8 hrs 15 mins
- 8 cups Swanson® Organic Free-Range Chicken Stock
- 1 12-oz can of Pale Beer
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium-size onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 thyme sprigs
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (I used a rind I had saved but without one I would add the cheese)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 thick-cut bacon slices
- 1 lb (about 6 cups) baby spinach leaves
- Combine the Swanson® Organic Free-Range Chicken Stock, beer, potatoes, onion, garlic, thyme sprigs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW until vegetables are very soft, approximately 6-8 hours.
- Remove and discard thyme sprigs. Add cream, and stir until combined.
- Process soup using an immersion blender until smooth. (See notes for using a regular blender)
- Just before serving, cook bacon in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain bacon using paper towels and reserve the drippings in pan.
- Add the spinach to the skillet; increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and beginning to brown just around edges, about 3 minutes.
- Crumble bacon. Serve soup topped with wilted spinach and bacon.
To use a counter-top blender:
Transfer the soup to a blender (do not fill more than halfway full) and remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape. Secure lid on blender, and place a clean towel over opening in lid. Process until smooth.
Repeat until all soup is smooth. Rewarm if necessary.
This post is sponsored by Swanson® however all commentary is my own.