This recipe is absolutely perfect for when you want to have a cozy, hearty meal during a cold night. With all of the ingredients, it tastes just like a delicious baked potato! Use low-fat, low-sodium ingredients or replace some ingredients to make it vegetarian- you can make it as healthy as you desire depending on the ingredients you select. I want to thank GimmeSomeOven for the recipe inspiration. I made a few tweaks for my own but overall, their recipe is delicious!
6-8 slices cooked bacon, diced
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 pounds Yukon gold, Russet, or red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons bacon grease (or butter)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 12oz can 2% evaporated milk
1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream/Greek Yogurt
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional toppings: green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream
Add bacon, chicken stock, potatoes and onion to the bowl of a large slow cooker, and stir to combine. If you are cooking the bacon (and not buying it already cooked and diced), it is easier to dice it before frying AND you can save the bacon grease for the roux later on. I highly recommend doing this rather than using the butter because it adds so much flavor! I used as much chicken stock needed to cover the potatoes which was about 6 cups. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until the potatoes are completely tender and cooked through.
Once the soup has slow cooked and is about ready to serve, reheat the bacon grease (or heat the butter) in a small pan over medium-high heat until it has melted. Whisk in the flour until it is combined, and cook for another minute while stirring. Gradually add in the evaporated milk whisk them together until the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture continue cooking until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally, and then it should get quite thick.
Immediately pour that mixture into the slow cooker with the potatoes, and stir until combined. Add in the cheddar cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper, and stir until combined.
If you prefer thicker soups that are more like a chowder, you can use a potato masher to mash some of the potatoes until is gets to the consistency you like. If you would like the soup to be thinner, add in an extra 1-2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock.
Serve warm, garnished with desired toppings or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (This recipe will not freeze well.)
If you would like to make this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable stock, omit the bacon, and add 2-3 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning for extra flavor.