BIG JIM KOCIK’S POTATO SOUP

(Big Jim was Uncle Porky’s golfing partner and had to make this soup each time he lost to Uncle Porky-which was a lot of times!)

Ingredients:
6-7 cups Red potatoes peeled and diced (about ½ inch cubes)
7-8 strips Thick cut slab bacon (diced into about ½ inch pieces)
2 cups Sweet onion (diced into about ½ inch pieces)
3 cups Swanson chicken stock (not broth)
1 ½ cups Half and half
12 ounces Velveeta cheese (cut into ½ inch cubes)
3 tbsp. Butter
2-3 tsp. Jalapeno slices (chopped fine)
½ tsp. Black pepper
½ tsp. Accent
1tbsp. Dried chives

Notes:
Use red potatoes…they hold up best in soups. After dicing, rinse 2 or 3 times to remove excess starch. Soak in cold water until needed.

Easy way to dice bacon: cut stack of strips lengthwise, then cut about ½ inch slices.

After frying bacon, do not drain away all the grease. Easy method: push fried bacon to one side of the Dutch oven or pot and absorb about half the grease with 5 or 6 paper towels.

2 tsp. chopped jalapenos just barely registers in this recipe, but adds to the flavor so don’t leave it out. If you want a little more heat, add more 1 tsp. at time. Just remember that you can always add more, but can’t take it out.

Swanson chicken stock comes in a 26 oz. container, use the whole thing. Home make stock (frozen from left over strained chicken soup) is best if you have any.

Making the soup:
Fry bacon until crisp (med. High heat) and remove about ½ of the grease.

Add diced onions to bacon and continue cooking until onions are translucent (about 5 min,)

Add chicken stock, butter, jalapeno, pepper, Accent and drained potatoes and simmer on med-low heat until potatoes are just tender (about 20 min.)

Add Velveeta cheese, half and half and dried chives and turn up heat to bring soup back to a simmer. Stir soup until cheese is well melted and blended into the soup. Adjust heat to low and simmer for an additional 10 min., stirring frequently.

Don’ts
Don’t be tempted to substitute cheddar or any other hard cheese for Velveeta, because Velveeta does not curdle and provides a very creamy texture to the broth. If you want more cheese favor, garnish soup with shredded Asiago or some other favorite cheese.