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Loaded Potato Soup

12 lb bacon, chopped into thin strips
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
12 cup diced onion
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 12 teaspoons salt
12 teaspoon white pepper
12 teaspoon celery seed
1 large bay leaf
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Place washed, peeled, diced potatoes in a 5 quart pot. Add chicken broth, salt, pepper, celery seed and bay leaf to pot. Place pot over medium heat and allow to come to a boil. Let potatoes cook until tender, then remove the bay leaf. Smash the potatoes slightly against the side of the pot. (I like to leave some larger chunks of potatoes in mine, but you can also use a hand blender to process until smooth.) Turn heat to low and allow to simmer. While potatoes are cooking, place bacon strips into a large skillet and render until bacon is crisp. Pour bacon and fat from the pan into a strainer to reserve the fat. Add 4 tbsp of fat back to pan and add onions. Saute until onions are translucent. Add flour to onions and cook while stirring for no more than 2 minutes. Slowly incorporate half and half to this mixture adding small amounts and stirring well after each addition. Remove from heat. Slowly pour cream mixture into simmering potato broth. Turn off heat and add cheese, stir until cheese melts. Serve with bacon pieces and additional cheese.

Source: www.food.com