Instant Pot: Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Inspiration comes from anywhere... where do you get yours? When it comes to meal planning, my husband and I will often work together on coming up with meals. Usually meals are based on things he likes, dishes we've drooled over while watching Food Network or episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, No Reservations, etc. This time, my husband made mention of having potato soup the other day. From a can. Not that I have anything against canned soup {Lord knows I've eaten my share growing up and in college}, but he hasn't had a from scratch baked potato soup in quite some time. I took that as an opportunity to make this Loaded Baked Potato Soup that's rich, velvety and cheesy with chunks of potato, garnished with crumbled bacon, a dollop of cool sour cream, scallions and shredded cheese for good measure. 

Making this soup was the perfect chance to use up some potatoes I had. It's also the best time of the year for soup since this one is particularly comforting on a chilly day. You can top this soup with whatever you'd normally top a baked potato. Some other ideas include chopped steamed broccoli, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions, even leftover chili would work well! This soup is obviously delicious on its own but you can use it as a blank canvas to highlight your favorite baked potato toppings. Yum...

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

8 slices bacon, chopped
3 pounds (about 6 medium) russet potatoes, scrubbed & cubed
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour {or gluten free flour blend}
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, (plus extra for garnish)
1 cup sour cream (plus extra for garnish)
3 scallions, sliced thin (for garnish)
1/4 cup crumbled bacon (for garnish)

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place

Press SAUTE and cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pot, crumble and set aside.

In the now empty IP, add the onion to the fat remaining in the pot and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. 

Stir in the garlic and flour and cook for about 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Whisk in the chicken stock and cream to the pot. Add the thyme and potatoes; stir. B

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 10 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 10 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 10 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your IP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

Remove about 2 cups of the cooked potatoes to a bowl. Puree the remaining soup with an immersion blender in the pot {or in batches with a regular blender.} 

Return the pureed soup to the pot and off the heat, stir in the cheese until completely melted, then add the sour cream.  Season the soup with salt and pepper. 

Add the reserved potatoes and stir.

Serve garnished with reserved crumbled bacon, scallions, cheese and sour cream.