2 6- to 8-oz. baking potatoes (such as russet or Yukon gold)
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cups half-and-half
1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chicken broth
8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup dairy sour cream
1. Scrub potatoes and pat dry. Prick potatoes with a fork. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender; cool. Chop potatoes; set aside.
2. 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, salt, and pepper. Add half-and-half. 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.
3. For the topping, reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon. Stir the remaining bacon and 1 tablespoon of the green onion into soup. Heat through.
4. To serve, top each serving with reserved bacon, remaining cheese, green onions, and sour cream.