Out of the three recipes that I was looking at, I ended up making the recipe from Domestic Pursuits. It sounded the easiest because of the crockpot aspect, and it didn't involved me going out to buy a LOT of ingredients that we frankly don't have the money for right now because it's post-Christmas. I left my camera at my in-laws today, so you get blessed with the picture straight from Domestic Pursuits.
The recipe tastes pretty close to the potato soup at Panera Bread, which is kind of my gold standard for really good potato soup. It was a little off - I think maybe it needs to be a littler thinner? And the website says that their soup has chives for flavor, so maybe a little of that would help? It was close enough that I ate a good-sized bowl (hello, trip to the gym tonight!) and Zane actually liked it too.
One trick that I used that made it even easier to make was to put the garlic and onion into my mini food processor, which saved me quite a bit of time in dicing those two ingredients. Every time I use that gadget I think of how handy it is and I how much I love it. I really need to start using it more often! The only variation from the recipe that I really made was leaving out the red pepper flakes. I didn't feel like buying red pepper just for this recipe, and I figured that such a small amount wouldn't really be missed in a whole crockpot of soup. I also made a half-batch, because I didn't want to be eating potato soup all week! :) The recipe below is for the full batch. The blogger at Domestic Pursuits did warn that it will fill a 6 quart crockpot almost to the brim, so be aware of that if you decide to do a full batch.
Crockpot Baked Potato Soup
Yields 10 servings
5 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced in 1 to 2-inch chunks
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 quarts chicken broth
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
optional garnishes: crumbled bacon, green onion, chives, shredded cheddar cheese
1. After peeling and dicing potatoes, place them in the slow-cooker (use 6-quart or larger). Add onion, garlic, seasonings and broth.
2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for four hours.
3. Once potatoes are fork-tender, use a masher to mash the potatoes.
4. Break up both packages of cream cheese and add to slow-cooker. Put the cover back on.
5. Cook on high for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Once cream cheese is completely dissolved, serve with desired garnishes.
Recipe and photo from Domestic Pursuits