Mmmm… Don’t you just love a Sunday ham? Drizzled in all it’s maple, sugary, honey, roasted goodness? It’s one of my favorite “wait-all-day-for-it” meals, because I’ve never had a bad ham. Really. Never had one.
But one of the best parts of a ham for my family is the after-products from that delicious chunk of pork. Particularly the soup. My mother and my mother’s mother, and HER mother’s mother all made soup from the ham bone and the little bits leftover ham that escaped the dinner table (and sometimes had to be saved by themselves in a secret Tupperware dish in the back of the fridge so that soup could be made!) This is my mother’s recipe with just a little bit of adaptation, I don’t use the bones for stock due to lack of time. (If you’d still like to know how to make ham stock click here.) it takes about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how thick and rich you want it, and it tastes amazing, every time. You won’t be disappointed.
Ham and Potato Soup
4 cups of water
1 cup chicken broth, or 3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
4 cup washed diced potatoes (I like to leave the skin on)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup peeled sliced carrots
1/4 cup minced onion
The chopped ham bits from last night, (I usually save around 1 to 1-1/2 cups if I can)
3 1/2 tbsp of butter or soft spread
1/4 cup all purpose flour generously seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups of 2% or whole milk (You can use 1% or skim, but add a little extra flour for richness)4 sprigs fresh parsley
Grated cheese (Parmesan or Cheddar work best)
In a large stockpot combine all of your vegetables, the potatoes, the ham and the water. Bring these ingredients to a boil, then cook over medium heat for about 15 to 18 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and are all the same pale white color, then add the chicken flavoring of your choice.
Melt the butter or spread in a smaller saucepan on medium low, then slowly whisk the seasoned flour into the butter, then gently pour the milk, a little bit at a time, into the butter flour mixture, and make sure that any lumps are quickly whisked out. The smoother the better for the consistency of the soup. Continue to stir, reducing the heat to low, for 5-6 minutes until the sauce is super creamy.
Stir the sauce into the soup, then serve in individual bowls. My mom always topped with some kind of grated cheese and a pinch of minced parsley, then served it with Keebler Club Crackers or even oyster crackers. My dad tops his with BacNBits.
Some of the additions or substitutions I’ve tried include a can of creamed corn added with the butter/flour mixture at the end, or other vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. I’ve also made it the soup extra thick and topped it with a puff pastry circle then baked it in the oven for a “pot pie” kind of meal.