Potato soup, potato chowder, sausage chowder, and cheese soup. Any of these names describe this sinfully delicious dish that’s perfect for chilly Fall weather or the Winter holidays!
With the flexibility to cook it in a slow cooker or stovetop, you can put it on and forget about it or whip it up for unexpected company. Plus, it’s easily halved or increased to feed crowds of any size.
A Family Tradition
Many Halloweens ago, we started a family tradition of serving potato soup, freshly baked donuts and apple cider for dinner. Living in Driggs, Idaho, our Halloweens were often frigid! And with the wide variety of our kid’s ages, who knew when anyone would be home exactly and how many additional kiddos or teenagers would crash the house.
Plus, one of us was stuck opening the door for trick-or-treaters while the other one braved the cold and went with the younger kids. (Always fun to plan costumes around a winter coat!)
The point is, we needed something to serve throughout the evening that we made in advance, was warm, and would hold well. Living in Idaho, potato soup/chowder was the logical option.
It’s a tradition we carry on to this day. Our kids are older, and trick-or-treating has changed; but still, we all look forward to our favorite Halloween meal.
This year with a brand new Krispy Kreme in Anchorage, the thought of those fresh, warm donuts with luscious potato soup is enough to cause a drooling fit!
Halloween isn’t the only time we indulge in this recipe. We make it several times throughout the winter as it’s perfect after a long day of skiing, snow-machining or ice fishing!
Soup vs Chowder
FYI: What’s the difference? Traditionally (according to the French), chowder is a thick soup using seafood and is not necessarily cream based. In the USA, we have liberalized this definition a bit. Generally, the chunkier version of any cream soup is called “chowder” and the creamier version is called “soup” or “bisque”.
So this recipe qualifies as either depending on how much you mash up the potatoes once it’s cooked. I like to mash it a bit because it adds to the creaminess but also still has hearty bites to satisfy.
This recipe is wonderful for leftovers which is why I make such a large batch! Like many other foods, the flavors get better the longer it sits. You can also throw in your own creativity with carrots, celery, peas, different cheeses and meats or anything else you fancy to make it your own.
I hope you enjoy! And…just maybe it will become a tradition in your home.
Potato Soup with Cheese, Bacon, and Sausage
For the Soup:
- 5-8 slices cooked Bacon
- 1/2-1 lb Sausage
- 5-6 medium Potatoes
- 1/2-1 Onion
- 8 c. Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1/2 tsp. Paprika
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Salt 1-2 tsp. and Pepper to taste
- 1 c. Sour Cream
- 2 c. Shredded Cheese your choice, I like cheddar/jack blend
For the Rue:
- 8 Tbsp. Butter
- 1/3 c. All-Purpose Flour
- 2-12 oz cans 2% Evaporated Milk
For the Soup:
- Cook sausage and bacon, cut up bacon, then set aside.
- Dice onion and sauté in 1-2 Tbsp. of bacon and sausage grease.
- Peel and dice potatoes.
- Place potatoes, sausage, onions, paprika, bay leaves and salt and pepper in slow cooker or pot on stove. Pour in stock.
- *If using a slow cooker, cook on medium for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours. If cooking on stovetop, cook until potatoes are tender ~ 30 minutes. I use the slow cooker to develop flavors.
For the Rue:
- Around 15-20 minutes prior to serving. melt butter in frying pan.
- Add flour and whisk until mixture is completely combined.
- Cook 1 minute.
- Gradually add in evaporated milk, stirring constantly until completely smooth.
- Allow mixture to continue to cook until it reaches a simmer, and thickens. (It will be quite thick.)
Finishing the Soup:
- Add rue to soup, and stir in.
- Then stir in sour cream and cheese.
- Once all ingredients are combined, use a potato masher and mash ingredients to desired consistency. (This is optional and mainly affects the potatoes, but also assists to thicken the soup.) Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes while cooking bacon.
- Cook bacon until crisp, then stir into soup.
- Garnish with cheese and enjoy.
- This is a big batch of soup! Although wonderful for leftovers, the recipe is also easily halved.
- Healthy Substitutions: Low Fat Sour Cream and Cheese, Canadian Bacon, reduce butter in rue and rely more on mashing potatoes for thickness, use Olive Oil to sauté onion.