First I sliced up a package of a nice, smoky bacon, then cooked it in a stock pot until the fat was rendered out. Then I melted 4 tablespoons of butter. (Too much butter, I should have only used 2 tablespoons)
Next I added a mirepoix, 4 cups of chopped onion, 2 cups of chopped celery and 2 cups of chopped carrots, and cooked until the onion was translucent.
Then I added 12 cups of diced potatoes and 14 cups of chicken broth and brought it to a boil. Then I reduced the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes were tender, about 20 minutes.
Finally, I added a pound of diced smoked ham and 1 cup of heavy cream and let come back to a simmer.
This makes about 2 gallons of soup. You can half or even quarter the recipe if you're not cooking for an entire army.
Unfortunately, it wasn't until everyone had finished eating that I realized I'd forgotten to garnish the soup with cheese. Oh well, there's plenty of leftovers for tomorrow (and the next day, and the next, and the next...)