Prep: Wash the red potatoes and cut into small cubes. Peel if desired (I like to leave the peel on). Dice the onion, dice the celery, dice the carrot.
In a very large pot, over medium heat, cook all of the bacon to desired doneness.
Remove onto a paper towel lined plate and dab off the excess grease. Coarsely chop the bacon.
Drain all of the bacon fat except for 3 tablespoons.
Add in the onion, celery, and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent over medium heat, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic in the last 30 seconds.
Add in the potatoes and toss everything to coat.
Cover everything with 6 cups water and 6 regular sized chicken boullion cubes (watch out, there are extra large ones -- if you get large ones adjust) OR 6 cups chicken stock. SEE NOTE to finish in crockpot.
Heat to boiling and then reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Using a potato masher, mash down some of the tender potatoes, leaving some chunks.
In another pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
Slowly whisk in the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for one minute over medium heat.
Very slowly add in 2 cups of room temperature milk.
Whisk until thickened. Add in a generous amount of salt and pepper (I add about a teaspoon of each, but to your preference!)
To the potatoes: add in the cream mixture, additional 2 cups of milk, sour cream, generous amount of chives or green onions, 2 cups of the cheese, and half of the cooked bacon.
Stir and cook until heated and cheese is melted.
Top individual bowls with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, remaining bacon, and remaining chives/green onions. Enjoy warm!