4poundsbaking potatoes (such as Russets)peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
6cupschicken broth OR stock
1tablespoonsfresh minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
12ouncesbaconcooked and crumbled/chopped
Diced green onions or chives
Place cubed potatoes, chicken stock, and garlic in large slow cooker. Season with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high (or until potatoes are completely tender).
Turn heat to warm and use an immersion blender to purée potatoes until smooth and creamy. Stir in milk, sour cream, butter, and grated cheese. Stir until all ingredients are melted and incorporated. (You may add a bit more milk if you prefer the consistency of your soup to be thinner.) Taste soup and, if necessary, season with additional salt and pepper. If soup is not hot enough at this point, place lid back on slow cooker and heat on warm for 5 to 10 more minutes (don't heat too long after the dairy is added or the soup may turn brown around the edges of the pot).
Ladle soup into bowls and top with your favorite baked potato toppings: a drizzle or dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, chopped bacon, and/or diced green onions.
You may use vegetable stock and omit the bacon if you would like to make this soup vegetarian.
You can use skim milk, 2%, whole milk, half-and-half, heavy cream...it's up to you! But obviously, the fattier the milk product you use, the richer and creamier the final soup is going to be.
The type of stock or broth you use is going to dictate whether or not you need to add additional salt at the end.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you may purée this soup in batches using a food processor or blender. Just allow it to cool down a bit before doing so, work with small batches at a time (don't fill your blender more than half way!), and leave the top of the blender cracked so that steam can escape and soup doesn't explode everywhere!
To drizzle sour cream, I stir it until smooth, scoop into a plastic sandwich baggie, and snip off a tiny piece of one corner. Then I use it like a piping bag for drizzling.