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Ham and Potato Winter Soup

January 17, 2013

Hello. How have you been?

We are returning to a normal pace of life; still with unpacking to do, but pretty normal. The new kitchen is shaping up and getting more functional. There will be a post soon about its vintage loveliness.

But in the meantime, SOUP! I was craving my old favorite ham and navy bean soup, often made this time of year with leftover holiday ham. Beans and I don’t get along so well these days, so I was inspired to do a version with potatoes instead. Plus I figured I’d make it gluten-free. I started with a nice base recipe from for Potato Ham and Leek Soup that I found on Pinterest. Then I made some changes to lighten it up fat-wise, as well as added some of the flavors from my beloved bean soup. I cook mine much longer and I think the flavor really benefits from the extra time.

Here’s the result: Ham and Potato Winter Soup. I only did a half recipe and it was gone by lunch the next day. Pretty good endorsement! It has the balance I was looking for with the leeks. I don’t like them too strong or too bitter. I think using just the white part was the key on this. Plus I greatly reduced the amount of leeks used.

The hint of red pepper flakes gives it an extra zing of warming power without being super spicy. And the nutmeg just brings it all together.

Sorry there is no photo. It got eaten so fast, plus white soup rarely photographs well. Hope you enjoy it!

Ham and Potato Winter Soup

8-10 servings
Includes optional crock pot instructions below.

10 small red-skinned potatoes, skins on, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable, turkey or whatever you have on hand)
Bay leaf
3 leeks, whites only, minced (my leeks had only 2 inches of white, do less if yours are larger)
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
¾ cup diced onion
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried italian herbs (or a mix of basil, oregano and parsley)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes, to taste
2 cups ham, diced into bite size pieces
½ cup all-purpose flour (or rice flour for gluten-free version)
¾ cup half-and-half
Pinch of ground nutmeg (added just before serving)

Put raw, diced potatoes in a stock pot or crock pot with the broth and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer while you cook the vegetables.

Soften the leeks, celery, carrot and onion in a skillet with a small splash of olive oil over medium heat. When the leeks just begin to brown add the dried spices (thyme and italian herbs) and salt, pepper and pepper flakes and cook one minute more.

Add vegetables to the broth mixture. Simmer until potatoes become tender. (Or 3 hours in crock pot on high.)

Add the chopped ham and leave on a low simmer a bit longer. (In the crock pot put it on low for another hour.)

In a cup with a secure lid, or an empty glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, measure the half-and-half. Add the ½ cup flour. Put on the lid and shake to thoroughly combine. Pour mixture into the soup and mix. Increase temperature to a simmer until soup thickens. (For crock pot, turn it back to high and cook another hour.)

Before serving add a pinch of ground nutmeg and mix well.

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