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Ham and Potato Soup



I made a ham for Christmas, really a partial ham, and needed to do something with the leftovers. So Monday night I made ham and potato soup and it was SO delicious I want to go out and get another ham! I think the ham I bought was just that good that is really made the soup. Hubby had to run to the store for some celery and cream and milk, but it was well worth it.

As always, soup is really no specifics. I love making soup and just throwing things in the pot until it looks right. No two soups I make are the same and that's what is fun.

So I cut up some carrots, onions, and celery, as well as to chop up the ham. How much? I really just based it off of how much it filled up my pan. I have no idea how to describe how much I use as it is impromptu "it feels right" kind of measurements.

Next, I melted about 3 tablespoons butter in a pan (I always use the same cast iron skillet for everything, but wish I had a larger pot. Maybe next Christmas as a certain pot has been on my list for two Christmases now.) I added the ingredients and cooked them for a short bit (I don't like my veggies too soft) and added some garlic (yeah, it was from a jar) near the end (as garlic tends to burn).

Next I added a handful of flour (yes, my hand is small, so I would say about a 1/4 of a cup) and stirred it around to make a roux. A roux is basically flour and fat, so the butter is the fat, and it actually makes it easier having the veggies and ham in to spread out the flour so it doesn't get lumpy. Cook it just a bit (so as to get rid of the flour taste and to mix it all up). Remembering that hot roux and cold liquid keep away the lumps, I added refrigerated chicken broth (the kind that comes in a cardboard container). I have no idea how much I added. I just filled up the pan, leaving some room for more ingredients.

Next, I tasted to see how salty the soup was and added just a little salt and some pepper. The ham had already made it rather salty. However, I wanted to cook the potatoes with enough salt so they could pull in the flavor. After the soup reached an almost boiling temp, I added a few potatoes cut into little chunks the same size as the ham. I like small bits of food, as it feels nice in my mouth, but it also cooks quicker.

When the potatoes were soft, but not too soft, I tasted again to see if it needed more salt or pepper. Then I added some heavy cream. Milk would have worked just fine and been healthier, but this time I just added the cream until it made a nice color consistency for a "potato soup" look.

After I turned off the heat, I did add some white cheese I had chopped up. I do not remember the flavor. I do not think it matters, but it was one of my more expensive bars of white cheese, probably a cheddar.

I baked a loaf of "take and bake" type bread to accompany the soup.  Hubby and I just loved it!  The leftovers even smelled up his break room today and received a "what smells so good" compliment.

See, all gone!  For a picky eater hubby, that's a sign of a true success for a wife!



Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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