I got this recipe from my friend Allen. He says he can't imagine Epiphany without this soup. As far as I'm concerned, it's a good hearty soup that's comforting when the weather outside is frightful.
Give this one a go. If you want to make this vegetarian, omit the bacon and sauté the onions and the celery in olive oil. Note that because there is cheese here, this would be considered lacto but not vegan.
1/2 lb bacon, diced
1/3 c celery, chopped
1/3 c onion, chopped
4 c potatoes, peeled and diced
3 c chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian)
2 c milk (better if allowed to warm up to room temperature)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 c cheddar cheese, grated
In a large pot, brown the bacon until crisp and the oil is rendered. Add the celery and onion and sauté until softened. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pot, add the potatoes and chicken broth and cook until potatoes are tender and falling apart. This will make it easier to mash the potatoes in the broth. Use either a potato masher or a hand blender for this purpose.
Add the bacon, celery, and onion mixture, as well as the spices to the potato mixture. Add the milk whilst stirring. Heat until hot.
Shortly before serving, add the cheese and stir until melted.
Note: I did not add any salt because there was plenty of salt from the bacon and the cheese. In addition, I increased the pepper (using freshly ground pepper) and put in a couple of dashes of paprika.
If I had a digital camera, I'd take a picture of this lovely soup. Enjoy!