The ingredients, slightly modified from AllRecipes.com:
- half of a 375-g package of bacon (~6 strips) (or more)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 stalks celery (can include leaves) (diced)
- 8 potatoes (no need to peel; cubed)
- 5 cups water (or enough to cover potatoes)
- 1 pkg onion soup mix
- ~2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp dried tarragon (omitted as I didn't have any)
- 3 tsp fresh cilantro (chopped) (or more; I used ~1/2 cup leaves & all stems from a bunch)
In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon and set it aside. Drain off 3/4 of the bacon grease, leaving 1/4 in the pot.
Cook the onion, garlic, and celery in the bacon oil over low heat until they are translucent (~5 min).
Add the cubed potatoes, stir, and let cook for ~5 min.
If you'd like, you can also add the chopped cilantro stems at this time (so as not to let them go to waste!). Any leftover cilantro can be frozen in an ice-cube tray.
Simmer until the potatoes are very soft, then use a potato masher to partially mash them (at this point the potatoes are practically falling apart, so there's no need for an immersion blender).
In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat, then add in the flour, milk, and chopped cilantro. Cook, stirring constantly, for ~2 min until the sauce boils and thickens.
Continue to simmer the soup for a few more minutes to permit the flavours to mix.
Then scoop out a bowl and enjoy! This soup is thick, creamy, and satisfying. The cilantro and bacon flavours are subtle, but definitely noticeable. I think the bacon could be replaced by sausage or ham without compromising the flavour.
Overall, this is a good make-a-big-pot-on-Sunday-for-the-rest-of-the-week soup recipe that I'll be coming back to whenever I have a 10-lb bag of russets lying around and a bunch of cilantro on hand!