3cupsshredded sharp cheddar cheesedivided 2% or full fat
2[14.5 oz] cans chicken broth
1 8 ozlight sour cream
8chopped green onions
2tablespoonfresh chopped Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the potatoes, and remove any blemishes, but, don't peel. Pierce each potato with a fork 2-3 times, then wrap in aluminum foil. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 1-1 ½ hours until fork tender. Remove from the oven, and cut into bite size chunks.
In a medium stove top pot, melt 5 tablespoons of light butter. Add ½ cup of flour, salt, dry mustard and black pepper. Cook until the roux blends and the flour cooks slightly, about 1-2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in 4 cups of milk. The roux tends to stick to the edges of the pot, so be certain you mix all of it into the milk, or the sauce won't thicken properly.
Bring to a boil stirring constantly, then lower the heat to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer for 4-5 minutes, until the flour has cooked.
While the sauce is cooking, in a large pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp.Remove to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoon droppings. Saute red onion in drippings until translucent. Add minced garlic cooking for 1 minute.
After the sauce has cooked for 5 minutes and thickened, add 1 ½ cups of low fat half & half and 2 cups of shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese has completely melted then, remove from the heat.
Add the chopped potato chunks, and 1 ½ cans of chicken broth. Cook on medium. You can adjust the thickness of the soup after adding the sauce to the pot.
Pour the cheese sauce into the pot and stir until blended. If you thin your soup a little too much, don't panic, you can easily thicken it by mashing some of the potatoes. Starch is a natural thickener, and the soup will continue to thicken as it cools.
Allow the soup to bubble, but do not boil, for about 15-20 minutes.
Add the chopped parsley, half of the crumbled bacon and 8 ounces of sour cream. Continue to cook on medium just until heated through. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
Ladle into bowls, topped with a sprinkle of shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and green onions.
The Old Bay Seasoning is optional but, we really like the "kick" it gives to the potato soup. Creole seasoning would work great, too.