Loaded Baked Potato Soup
1 lb. bacon, diced *
1 onion, diced
5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 c. chicken stock
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
3 green onions, sliced
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 t. black pepper
Sour cream for garnish, optional
1. In a large stock pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain and set aside. Drain all but 2 T. of bacon grease from the pot. Cook the onions in the remaining bacon grease for about 5 minutes, until tender.
2. Add potatoes and chicken stock to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove a few scoops of potatoes. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.
3. In a small sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Slowly stir in to stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer. Stir mashed potatoes back into pot.
4. Add 1/2 c. shredded cheese, three-fourths of the bacon and half the sliced green onions to pot. Add pepper. Stir to combine. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
5. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and top with some shredded cheese, bacon, green onions and optional sour cream.
* For just a plain, delicious vegetarian Potato Soup, omit the bacon, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock and the green onions and sour cream become optional. Stir 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese into the soup just before serving, stir until melted and dish it up.