This hot simple soup will become an all-time favorite particularly on a chilly fall or wintry day! If you like add some cooked crisp bacon to the soup or as a side-topping for this to make it appealing to meat lovers, as well as vegetarians.
Cook the first 8 ingredients in the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or until the potatoes are tender when tested with a fork.
Add to the soup an easy-roux made of 1/2 cup flour shaken vigerously in a mason jar with 1 cup of the half and half,( you may also in addition to shaking this mixture whisk it in order to smooth out all the lumps), the other cup of half and half and the cheese. Continue cooking the soup for another 30 minutes.
To achieve a smooth consistency, mash the potatoes in the crock pot, adding some extra half and half or broth if needed. You may also put the soup in a blender afterward in order to have a creamier texture if desired. Some portion of the potatoes may be kept in their present whole state for the varied effect which is also great!
Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley or other fresh herbs and side-toppings like coursley shredded parmesan and cheddar cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt and chopped fresh chives. Chopped crisp bacon also makes a nice meat-lovers' topping! Enjoy! Note: the 30-minute prep time really depends on how long it takes to get the potatoes, onion and garlic chopped and whether or not you choose to leave the potato skins on !