Mashed Potato Soup

Each time that I make this soup, I break the process into two days. On the first day I prepare the potatoes. Normally I purchase 10 pounds of potatoes(the variety isn't really all that important, but I find the bigger the potatoes the less time it takes to peel them!), but this time I peeled 15 pounds because I was taking this soup to a party!

After I have rinsed and peeled my potatoes, I like to cut them into chunks so that they boil and cook faster. Large potatoes I slice into six sections and the smaller ones just into quarters.

Boiling potatoes is very easy, just fill the pot with water until your potatoes are completely covered with water
. Keep in mind that the potato water likes to bubble over, so keep a close eye (I prefer to keep within ear shot) on your pot. I usually keep the lid offset enough to let a little bit of steam escape, and somehow this keeps my pot from boiling over.

While my potatoes were cooking, I peeled and shredded my 1 pound bag or carrots. It is FAR easier to shred long carrots than chubby/short baby carrots. And long carrots are less expensive too. ($.79/bag for long carrots vs. $1.39/bag for baby carrots.)

I was pleasantly surprised to receive nearly 4 cups of shredded carrot from just a single pound bag. I popped both of these containers into the freezer, even though one would be used the next day!

When my potatoes were done cooking (you can test their 'doneness' with a fork, if a fork easily pierces a potato they are done!) I drained all of the 'potato' water out of the stock pot. I reserved about 8 cups for use in the soup stock. (I let the potato water cool completely on my counter before I let it refrigerate overnight.)

Here are my two secret weapons for supremely yummy mashed potatoes... a block of cream cheese and a stick of butter!!! YUMM-O! I cut my cream cheese and butter into squares and then I mash them into my potatoes (hint: I mash my potatoes with the pot in the kitchen sink so that it can't accidentally slip off of the counter when I'm furiously mashing!)
I fill a 9x13 pan with mashed potatoes, and I will use the rest of the mashed potatoes as the base to my soup! (And yes, I like my mashed potatoes lumpy!)

After filling my 9x13, I still had 8 cups of mashed potatoes left over for the soup. I allowed both of these containers of potatoes to cool before I set them into the refrigerator overnight.
The following afternoon (day of serving) I put together the rest of my ingredients for the soup. On the far left is the 8 cups of potato water, I used 1 bag (even though 2 were pictured) of frozen corn, 2 jars of bacon crumbles(you could crumble your own), the small container of liquid is home made chicken stock, 8 cups of mashed potatoes, and 2-ish cups of shredded carrots.

I also shredded a block of cheddar cheese to use as a topping!

After your soup has had a chance to meld together (either on the stove top or in your crock pot) for about 2 hours, warm your mashed potatoes in the oven (30 min. at 350*).

Place a large scoop of mashed potatoes into the bottom of your bowl and add a ladle or two of your mashed potato soup on top. Add shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream and... enjoy!

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