Fully-Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup with Gina's Spinach Salad
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed
- 1 cup whole milk
- One 12-ounce bottle light-bodied beer
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 8 ounces)
- Dash hot sauce
- Dash Worcestershire sauce
- Sour cream, for topping
- 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, for topping
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, for topping
- Gina's Spinach Salad with Spiced Pecans, for serving, recipe follows
- Gina's Spinach Salad
- Spiced Pecans:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup pecan halves
- Spinach Salad:
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- One 10-ounce package prewashed baby spinach
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, fried crisp
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onions, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the saucepan to toast the flour, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the stock, and then the milk and beer. Stir in the potatoes and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to low heat. Add 1 cup of the Cheddar, a handful at a time, stirring until melted and smooth after each addition. Add additional chicken stock if necessary to adjust the consistency. Sprinkle with hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Divide the soup among bowls and top with the remaining Cheddar, sour cream, bacon and chives. Serve with Gina's Spinach Salad with Spiced Pecans.
For the pecans: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in all the spices and the pecans. Stir and toast the pecans for about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a plate to cool.
For the salad: Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallots in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil in a continuous stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper.
From Food Network Kitchens; after further testing and to ensure the best results this recipe has been altered from what was in the actual episode.
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