It does take some preparation-it is not a throw your ingredients in the crockpot and go type of recipe, but believe me, take a little time in the morning or even the night before, prep your ingredients, and you will come home to a delicious, creamy and very flavorful potato soup. I actually looked forward to the leftovers, and I think that they were even better the second (and third-this recipe makes a lot of soup) time around!
8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 lbs Russet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 oz), plus more for serving
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine)
salt and pepper
sliced scallions, minced
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate until serving. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, an additional minute or so. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken, then transfer to the slow cooker.
Stir in the remaining 3 cups of broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low (can be cooked longer).
Transfer 3 cups of cooked potatoes to a medium bowl with the cream and mash until smooth. Return the potatoes to the slow cooker, along with the shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir to combine and let the soup sit until heated all the way through, about 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, microwave the bacon on the plate until hot and crispy, about 30 seconds. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with bacon, shredded cheese, and scallions.