Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall weather means the soup's on!

While Mr. Steady and the children were off doing a "side job" early yesterday evening, I cooked up a big pot of homemade soup in my favorite vintage pot. They were all working hard outside doing some great manual labor and I wanted to serve them up a yummy fill your belly meal. 
I picked up a ham on sale a couple of weeks ago knowing the colder fall weather was looming and we'd want good ol' slowcooker ham and beans soon.
It frosted the last two nights... so that weather is now upon us. It's also soup weather... there's just something about a crisp fall day that makes me want to make soup. I jotted "hearty ham soup" on the menu plan and figured I'd make it up as I went.
Once upon a time I had a delicious ham soup recipe from our then pastor's wife. I misplaced that recipe long ago... but it reminded me that ham belongs in a cream based soup.
So I created a white sauce to add to the soup. We have about 50 pounds of red potatoes at the ready (in a very large bag on my porch), so I chunked up a few and simmered them in some water. About half a bag of mixed veggies went in next, a nice handful of chopped onion....
Then what? What would make this soup stand out? Hmmm.
Extra sharp cheddar cheese.
In the white sauce to combine it all nicely.
Bingo!

Hearty Ham Soup

2 cups diced red potatoes
2 cups water
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (I use sea salt & fresh cracked pepper)
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham

Combine potatoes, water, mixed veggies and onion in stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook over medium high heat until the potatoes are fork tender (about 10-15 minutes).
While potatoes and veggies are cooking, melt butter in medium sized saucepan. After butter has melted, whisk in flour, whisking until blended. Slowly pour in milk, whisking as your pour. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil, stirring for about two minutes or until thickened (think rue sauce). Stir shredded cheese by handful into rue sauce mixture, continue stirring until cheese has melted.
Once cheese has completely melted pour the mixture into the simmering potato and veggie mixture. Add ham. Simmer for 10 minutes (or pour into crockpot and turn on low).
Serves 10

Serve with warm crusty bread with a dollop of butter.


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