2 medium potatoes (about 2 cups chopped)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced white onion
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups instant mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
2 green onions, chopped (green part only)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake the potatoes or 1 hour or until done. When potatoes have cooked remove them from the oven to cool.
2. As potatoes cool prepare soup by melting butter in a large saucepan, and sauté onion until light brown. Add the flour to the onions and stir to make a roux.
3. Add stock, water, cornstarch, mashed potatoes, and spices to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out contents with a large spoon. Discard skin. Chop baked potato with a large knife to make chunks that are about 1/2-inch in size.
5. Add chopped baked potato and half-and-half to the saucepan, bring soup back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup for another 15 minutes or until it is thick.
6. Spoon about 1 1/2 cups of soup into a bowl and top with about a tablespoon of shredded cheddar cheese, a half tablespoon of crumbled bacon and a teaspoon or so of chopped green onion. Repeat for remaining servings.
Serves 6 to 8.