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Bacon &Baked Potato Soup

Published: Friday, March 17, 2017

2 (6 to 8 oz.) baking potatoes (such as russet or Yukon Gold)

3 Tbsp. butter

½ c. chopped onion

¼ c. chopped celery

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. dried thyme, crushed

¼ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

4 c. half-and-half, light cream or milk

1¼ c. shredded American cheese (5 oz.)

1 c. chicken broth

8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled

2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion

¼ c. dairy sour cream

 Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush; pat dry. Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake in a 425° oven for 40-60 minutes or until tender; cool. Peel potatoes, if desired. Chop potatoes; set aside.

In a heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper. Add half-and-half or milk all at once. Cook and stir for 5-6 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Add potatoes, 1 cup of the cheese and the broth; stir until cheese melts. Slightly mash potatoes with the back of a spoon or a potato masher.

For topping: Reserve 2 Tbsp. of the bacon. Stir remaining bacon and 1 Tbsp. of the green onion into soup. Heat through.

To serve, top each serving with reserved bacon, remaining ¼ cup cheese, green onions and the sour cream. —6 servings (about 1 c. each).

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