Prick potatoes all over with a fork; microwave on high until cooked through, turning once, 12 to 15 minutes total. Let cool slightly and scoop out flesh, discarding skins. Mash with a fork. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Let cool, then crumble.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and light golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in cheese, potatoes and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts and soup is heated through. Whisk in sour cream. Check seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Divide among 6 soup bowls and sprinkle each with bacon and chives.
This recipe also appeared in the September 2010 issue.
I have never found a potato soup that I liked as much as the name brand stuff. Until now. Mine got REALLY thick also. Just ended up adding two more cups of milk (and it was still thick and creamy). I wasn't sure if I would like the potatoes mashed so after cooking and cooling them, I petite diced them. I also threw in some American cheese slices.
This recipe is hard to rate. If you make it as directed (y only change was using turkey bacon), it's delicious, but WAY too heavy of a soup for my tastes. I won't be taking leftovers for lunch tomorrow for fear of falling asleep at my desk after eating this heavy meal. Again, it was very tasty, just way too heavy.