Do you like chili cheese fries? You know, french fries topped with chili, shredded cheese and sometimes chopped onions. In my wanton youth, they were most often eaten at 2 AM after leaving the bar, in need of some sustenance other than alcohol. Or more accurate, in need of some solid food to soak up all the alcohol. Oh, sweet memories. . .
Now that I am more mature and no longer leaving bars at 2 AM, I haven’t had chili cheese fries in so long I can’t remember when the last time was. And since my metabolism now seems to run backwards, they are not something I seek out when hungry. But they do cross my mind on occasion.
Yesterday was one of those occasions. I had a craving for chili cheese fries like nobodies business! But no way was I going to make some fries, then make some chili for a silly craving. Now if I was pregnant, then I probably would have got to cooking, but I’m not. I gazed at my russet potatoes, taunting me from their bowl. “Fry me, fry me!” they seemed to say. No, I thought, I must find another way.
Ah-Ha! I would make a potato soup with all the flavors of chili cheese fries, and with only a fraction of the fat. I would satisfy my craving for the flavor combination of chili cheese fries, and still be able to get on the scale at my Weight Watchers meeting without crying!
“Chili Cheese Fries” Potato Soup
2 TB bacon fat I always have at least one jar full in the fridge at ALL times!
1 sweet onion, sliced
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into uniform pieces
8 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock I used a hearty turkey stock
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese A blend of sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Asadero and Queso Blanco cheese that can be found at most supermarkets
1 – 1 1/2 cups milk or cream
In a large pot, melt the bacon fat over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, cumin, coriander, ancho and chipotle chili powders. Stirring occasionally, so the spices do not burn, cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened.
Add the potatoes, stirring to coat them with the spices. Add the broth, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a high simmer. Let the soup cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender, food processor or regular blender. Return the soup to the pot once it is pureed.
Stir in the cheese and the milk. If the soup is too thick add a bit more milk, broth or water until it reaches your desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
Serve with additional cheese for garnish.