3 carrots (peeled and cut in 1/2 in dice)3 celery stalks (cut into 1/2 in dice)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 medium-large russet potatoes (scrubbed and peeled in stripes and cut into 1 in cubes)
1 48 oz box chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups whole milk
1 cup grated cheese
1 tbsp fresh chopped chives
To make the crumbled bacon, cut the bacon strips crosswise into 1/4 in wide pieces. Place i a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through (about 10 min). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon crumbles to paper towels.
To make the potato soup, in a large soup pot melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the garlic, onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender (about 10 min).
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 min.
Add the potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender but still hold their shape (about 15 min).
Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly.
Simmer until the soup is slightly thickened and the potatoes are fully cooked (about 15 min).
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cheese, chives and crumbled bacon.