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Creamy Cheesy Slow Cooker Potato Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water
2 large carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons chicken soup base
1 cup warm water
5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour until smooth, then gradually stir in 2 cups water, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper. Heat through, then stir in milk. Dissolve chicken base in 1 cup warm water, and pour into vegetable mixture.

Place potatoes in slow cooker, and pour heated vegetable mixture into potatoes. Place bay leaf in pot. Cover, and cook 5 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low.

Remove bay leaf. Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor, and then stir pureed soup into contents of slow cooker. Stir in cheese and bacon until cheese is melted.

courtesy of KathyB