This lighter version of the beloved soup gives you more flavor, less glop, and full hearty satisfaction. With one simple extra step, the standard mashed potato process leads to a creamy soup adorned with all the great baked potato toppings. If you like the idea of some chunks of potato, mash coarsely; for a smoother soup, mash more completely. For the best texture, stick with russet potatoes (aka baking potatoes); starchier varieties won’t yield as creamy a result. The soup reheats well, so it’s a good make-ahead candidate; just store the toppings separately.
Place potatoes in a Dutch oven; add cool water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, 11 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat; drain. Return potatoes to pan; mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Whisk together flour, milk, and stock in a medium bowl. Stir milk mixture into potatoes; cook over medium, stirring often, until thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper. Ladle soup into 6 bowls; top with cheese, bacon, and chives.
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