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Potato, Bacon, and Broccoli Chowder

8  slices bacon, chopped
2  Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2  Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2  tsp. salt
Dash cayenne pepper
3  cups milk
2  cups chicken or vegetable stock
12  oz. red skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2  cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
1  Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1  tsp. hot pepper sauce, if desired
2  boxes (10 oz. each) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

Heat large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel-lined plate and reserve. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. fat. Add butter and onion and cook for 6 minutes or until softened. Add flour and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes or until foamy. Whisk in salt, cayenne pepper, milk, and chicken stock and cook until it becomes smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. In bowl, toss Cheddar with flour to coat. Stir in cheese, a handful at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. Add in hot pepper sauce if using. Add thawed broccoli and stir to heat. Do not boil. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Ladle soup into heated bowls and garnish with reserved bacon. Serves 6.

 


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