Papa's Pepper Potato Soup

 Papa's Pepper Potato Soup
 (Courtesy of Spencer from @spencerthecook from Instagram ... )
Is there anything better than a hearty comfort food dish when the weather turns cold in the fall? I don't think so and that's exactly what this potato soup is!  This creamy, silky, chunky, spicy and hearty soup is sure to be a dish that the whole family loves!  Growing up in the mountains of Virginia it was not uncommon for us to reheat a hearty potato soup before heading out to cut wood or enjoy a day hunting game on the mountains.  It kept us warm and energized for the day ahead.  Yup, this soup brings back memories and I hope that it can do the same for you and your loved ones!

5lbs Potatoes, peeled and cut into a large dice
1lb Bacon, cut into a medium dice
2 Large onions, diced
6C Chicken stock (or more as needed)
1t Granulated garlic
1T Papa's Pepper premium spice blend
1t Salt
1t Fresh ground black pepper
1C Half & Half or heavy cream
4oz. Cream cheese, softened
2C Shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1 Cup
Sour cream and scallions for garnish

1. In a Dutch oven over medium high heat add bacon and cook until crispy and fat has been rendered.

2. Remove crispy bacon bits to paper towel lined bowl leaving 2-3T rendered fat in dutch oven.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add cornstarch and granulated garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring in cornstarch with onions.  Add chicken stock while stirring and scraping brown bits from bottom of Dutch oven.  Add potatoes, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Make sure potatoes are covered by broth, if not, add more broth.

4.  Once potatoes are tender, remove half the potatoes to a mixing bowl.  Using an immersion blender, blend remaining potatoes and broth in Dutch oven until smooth and creamy.  Add cooked potatoes back into blended soup along with 2C cheddar cheese, cream cheese, heavy cream, salt, pepper and Papa's Pepper.  Simmer and stir until incorporated.  Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with crispy bacon bits, sour cream, remaining cheddar cheese and scallions.

Cooks note:
Potatoes need to be salted well so be certain to taste the soup and add salt/pepper to your liking.