Yield: 8 servings.
5 Medium Russet Potatoes
3 C. Whole Milk
1/2 C Half and Half
1/2 C. Sour Cream
1 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 tsp. Chives
1/2 tsp. Salt or to taste
1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper or more to taste
2 1/2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 tsp. Celery Salt
1 Green Onion Diced
5 Strips of Bacon Diced and Fried Crispy-drain
1 1/4 tsp. Fennel Seeds
Wash and scrub potatoes, pat dry. Rub potatoes with butter and place in baking pan, bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and cool slightly. When the potatoes have cooled enough to touch, peel 4 of the potatoes, we will need the skin on the 5th potato. While potatoes are cooling, add fennel seeds to milk and half and half, and scald the milk. Scalding is heating milk at moderated temperature just until boiling point but not boiling and quickly remove from heat. Scalding will keep the mixture from separating. Let milk cool slightly with fennel seeds in mixture.
When potatoes or cool enough to work with carefully cut 4 in half and place in a food processor. Potatoes should measure out to 1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked potato. Dice the 5th potato and set aside, leave the potato skins on this potato. To the cooked potato add sour cream, chives, salt, pepper, celery salt and 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. shredded cheddar cheese. Strain the fennel seeds from warm milk and discard seeds, pour milk mixture into food processor and processes 1 1/2 – 2 minutes until smooth. Place mixture into a sauce pan add butter and diced potato stir frequently and simmer on very low setting for about 15 – 20 minutes.
When ready to serve ladle into individual bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese, bacon, and green diced onion.
What I did differently: I used two cups of 1/2 and 1/2 and two cups of 2% milk because who has whole milk any more? I also skipped the simmer the milk step at the end and added the milk and the butter directly to the potato mixture. I also added a smidge less sour cream because I don't love sour cream and didn't want a strong taste of it. But you will determine this for yourself. Now my friend Sue, will probably double the sour cream, just sayin'. And lastly, I added more salt and pepper, lots more pepper, but I do likes my pepper!
Next time, I would add less fennel seed. It was a tad overpowering. And, I would cook more bacon. Mmmm, bacon. I wonder if I might also saute the potatoes a bit in the bacon grease before I put them in the food processor.