My boyfriend said this is the best soup he has ever had! Now that's saying something, isn't it? So easy and so delicious on a cold day! Got the original recipe from cooks.com, but I tweaked it just a bit. Hope you enjoy it!
1In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of the bacon fat or, if you don't have 2 tbsp, add enough cooking oil t make up the difference. Reduce the heat to moderately low.
2Add the onion, shallot and garlic; season with freshly ground pepper as desired, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, chicken broth, milk, salt and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 - 20 minutes.
3Remove half the soup from the pan and puree in food processor. Alternatively, mash some of the potatoes with a potato masher. Another option is to puree the soup with an immersion blender (my choice) to the consistency of your liking. Return any puree you may have removed to the pan.
4Over low heat, add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste the soup and season to your liking with salt and pepper.
5Serve the soup topped with bacon and chives.
6VEGETABLE NOTE: Boiling potatoes have less starch than baking, or Idaho, potatoes and consequently hold together better when boiled. This is why they are often used in soups and for potato salad. Not in this soup, though. Since we want some of the potato to break down into smaller pieces and thicken the soup, baking potatoes are the perfect choice.