Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender, about 4 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Add the sliced potatoes, chicken broth, cream, and bay leaves then bring to a simmer.
Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer until the potatoes are almost tender (a knife can be slipped into and out of a potato with some resistance) about 10-15 minutes.
Discard the bay leaves.
Pour the mixture into an 8 inch baking dish that's been coated with cooking spray.
Sprinkle the top evenly with cheese.
Place into the oven and bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes then top with crumbled bacon and freshly snipped chives. Enjoy!