Mardi Gras Potato Soup

Mardi Gras Potato Soup

4 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
4 ribs of celery, cut into small pieces
1 medium purple onion, diced
5 strips of bacon, tore into pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 pint half-and-half
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 quarts water

Start by frying the bacon in a 2 gallon stockpot over medium heat.
When the bacon is about half cooked, add in the onions, parsley, garlic and celery.

Cook until the onions and celery are softened.

Add 4 quarts of water to the stockpot.

Bring to a boil and then add in the potatoes.

Cook for 40 minutes, covered.

Stir occasionally.

After 40 minutes, spoon about 1/2 of the potatoes with liquid into a blender.

Turn the blender on puree and run until all the potatoes are blended into the liquid.

Add the pureed potatoes back into the pot along with the salt, pepper and half-and-half.

Cook for an additional 20 minutes, covered.

Stir frequently.

Serve garnished with grated cheddar cheese and with warm French bread.

Season to taste.