2 6-8 oz. baking potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed1/4 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups half-and-half, light cream or milk1 1/4 cups shredded American cheese (5 ounces)1 cup chicken broth
8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion1/4 cup dairy sour cream
Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush; pat dry. Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 40 to 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 to 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 the topping, reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon. Stir the remaining bacon and 1 tablespoon of the green onion into soup. Heat through.
To serve, top each serving with reserved bacon, remaining 1/4 cup cheese, green onions and the sour cream.