Cook chopped bacon in a large soup pot over medium high heat until lightly browned but not crisp. Stir in onions, celery, red pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetable begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add thyme and flour. Mix well. Stir in broth and evaporated milk. Bring mixture to a gentle boil and sir continuously until soup thickens slightly.
Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Note: I go to my butcher and have him cut 4 thick slices of bacon. Their bacon is superior in taste.