Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  • 4 large baking potatoes (Idaho or russet)
  • 12 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups milk, heated
  • 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the potatoes on a roasting tray and bake for 45 minutes. When done, the tip of a paring knife should go through the potatoes easily.

Slice the bacon into thin strips and cook in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pot.

Add the flour to the drippings in the pot and stir to combine. Cook, without adding color, until the flour and fat has combined, about 1 minute.

Pour in the milk while you whisk to incorporate. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.

Scoop out the potato pulp from the skins and add to the milk mixture. Mash with the back of a wooden spoon leaving it a little bit chunky.

Add the cooked bacon and cheddar cheese (leaving a little out for garnishing the soup) and season well with salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese has melted. Remove from the heat.

Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with sour cream (from a squeeze bottle) and sprinkle with remaining bacon bits, grated cheese, and chives.