Monday, January 10, 2011

Ham & Potato Soup

Pardon me for getting all domestic on ya here. But I made a bomb diggity soup for dinner.
I had New Year's ham languishing in the fridge and no sandwiches were created of its carcass. Pieces had been sliced and picked off, and I failed to remember to send a hunk of the pork with the FIL when he went back to the other home he occupies. I also had potatoes that needed to get turned into something other than a counter adornment. I contemplated soup or casserole, and went with soup.

I peeled and cut up the potatoes in a standard quartered & sliced method. the slices were about 3/4 of an inch thick. I cubed up the ham, removing the gristle and fat etc (the gross stuff nobody but the dog would eat). My sister was coming to visit, and I was planning on sending the scraps with her, but forgot. Oops. Anyway, I did use a hunk of fat to be rendered for flavor. I tossed it in the bottom of my favorite stock pot (the one Devildog bought many moons ago for a chili cook-off at work) on low heat to render out the fat. I had the heat too high and ended up frying one side of that chunk of fat. I simply turned down the heat, and poured some water in the pot to deglaze it and lidded it. I stirred around the little bit of water that was left and scraped the brown bits off the bottom that hadn't gotten shocked loose already. I poured more water in the pot, covered it, and turned the heat back up to high. As the water got hot, I turned it back down a bit and dumped in the potatoes and ham. When the potatoes were boiled till fork-tender, I poured off probably half the water. I should've poured off less, but oh well. I then poured in milk, the rest of the sour cream we had in the container, and a block of softened cut up cream cheese. I was determined not to use any canned soup, as the ham had enough salt in it, and quite honestly, I put in zero salt because of that, and it was nearing my salt threshold. Plus those soups really aren't all that great for you. Your mileage may vary. I folded it a lot to get the cream cheese to blend, and potatoes being what they are, they got mushed a bunch too. I ended up scooping out the stuff into a casserole dish, leaving the cream cheese chunks, and debated turning it into a casserole, but I lacked sufficient cheese. Plus my sister said it was fine as soup. So I dumped it back in the pot when I got the cream cheese to play nicely. About this time, I'd already turned on the oven to make a casserole, so I told the kids to check the fridge for biscuits. The oldest produced a thing of French Bread, and I called it good enough. Crusty bread with soup is lovely anyhow. I turned the heat down to low and kept the pot lid on it while the bread baked for 25 minutes. We then went to open belated Christmas gifts (because that's how we roll here). And when the timer beeped, we had bread, and soup, and Oldest decided to make some collard greens - sautee'd not drowned. He leaves his crunchier than I would have, so there was some leftover. I need to add kale and/or spinach to my list, now that I remind myself of this.
I only had to twist my sister's arm once to eat with us. I guess she thought she was taking food from the family's mouths. She has a husband and they have custody of a grandson after his mom died 12 years ago. I have 4 kids, a husband and myself and we're all big eaters. I learned how to cook for an army, and heaven help me as the nest empties and I have to learn to cook smaller again. There was enough for the kids, me, sis, and Devildog later crammed a bunch of it into a container and had some for himself. There's probably 3 portions left, if not more. And the longer it sat, the thicker it got. So it ended up being like a casserole anyway.

So I learned from this concoction that 1/2 a block of cream cheese will do. And that I probably could've left more if not all the water I started cooking with and it would have been fine. Plus with my stove, turning OFF the heat would probably be wiser, as there's plenty of residual heat when you have a thick clad bottom pot, and a ceramic cooktop, combined with the oven below it on 350 to bake dairy case packaged bread. The pot is soaking in the sink now for scraping the bottom later.
The Clone suggested I add this to the "Favorites" - meaning the binder of absolute Full Of Win recipes that are my family's favorite dishes.
And the inspiration for this meal came from a recent issue of a Taste of Home digest Slow Cooker recipe magazine. I was flipping through it at work and came across a potato & ham casserole that sounded good. However, I think I like my ham & potato soup much better. And I concocted it.

Not bad for the daughter of a woman who could screw up a box of macaroni and cheese.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I'm jealous, becuase I manage to somehow screw up three out of every four meals around here. Your soup sounds so good!