Say goodbye to ho-hum potato soup! Easy to prepare with ingredients you probably have on hand. Garnish with a pat of butter if desired. Best served with warm, crisp bread.
Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
Place bacon in a large saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until crispy, about 8 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels. Pour out bacon grease.
Melt butter in the saucepan over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged wooden spoon. Add celery, onion, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook and stir until tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Pour half-and-half and chicken broth into the saucepan. Add potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in bacon pieces. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until flavors combine, about 10 minutes.
Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with 1/2 teaspoon pepper, green onions, and paprika.