I always love the day after Christmas. I relish watching the kids play with and enjoy all of their presents. In our house, the day is usually a quiet(er) one as we unwind (and often catch a mid-afternoon nap) after the holiday festivities have kind of died down.
I must have been a good girl this year because the packages under the tree with my name on them contained gifts that made me just as giddy and excited as my children were on Christmas morning! My lovely gifts from my kids included "staging dishes," which I was informed were purchased with my blog in mind. And, I received a beautiful ten-piece hard enamel cookware set and a pasta machine from
my husband Santa.
Eager to put my new pots and pans to work and with a winter storm rolling in here in lower Michigan today, soup was in the works within a couple of hours of waking up today.
Like many, we feasted on a big ham dinner on Christmas afternoon at our house. It was just the five of us, so we had more than half of the ham left over. Some is tucked away in the freezer for later use (visions of scalloped potatoes and ham have been dancing in my head since yesterday). And, it is a given that I always reserve the ham bone for some type of soup or beans.
I started on homemade chicken stock this morning for this soup utilizing the carcass of a whole chicken that we had a few days ago. I always freeze the carcass for making my Homemade Chicken Stock. You can use store-bought chicken stock for this recipe, however, if desired.
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 large onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
3/4 cup ham, cut into small pieces
1 ham bone
6 cups chicken stock or broth
8 - 10 potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 cup heavy cream (whole milk can be used)
Salt and pepper, to taste
For Garnish (Optional) -
Shredded cheddar cheese
In a large stock pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add in the oil. Add in the ham and ham bone. Cook until the meat just starts to brown.
NOTE: My ham bone had a ton of meat still on it, so I didn't add in any extra meat ... just the bone.
Add in the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Add in the garlic. Pour in a splash of the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release all of the brown bits.
Add in the remainder of the chicken stock. Simmer on low for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Toss in the potatoes. Stir.
Simmer over medium-low heat until potatoes are tender. Stir a couple of times while potatoes are cooking.
Remove from heat. Remove the ham bone. Pull off any meat from the bone that you want to add back into the soup. Add in the cream. Add in some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
I skim off some of the fat that pools on top of the liquid, but this step is optional.
If the soup is too thin for your preference, you can mash up a few of the potatoes with a fork or thicken with a cornstarch/water slurry.
I turn off my burner and allow my soup to rest uncovered for about 15 minutes before stirring again and serving.
Serve with a garnish of green onions and a sprinkling of shredded cheese, if desired. Sour cream is a great topping, too.