I don’t know what got me thinking about potato soup. It’s not something I make all the time, and not usually something I make especially well. In fact, Mr17’s Dad is the potato soup master. He doesn’t measure or anything, just throws things in and it turns into the perfect cold-weather comfort meal. Well! (Stands proudly, hands on hips, much like Yul Brynner in the King and I.) I think I have him beat. (Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.)
Oooohhhh yeaaaahhh. I have a new favorite ingredient and a combination of stove-top and crock pot that brings it over the top!
- 1 package smoked ham shanks
- 6-7 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
- 1 celery heart, chopped, leaves too
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 quart chicken broth
- pepper to taste
- 5 TBSP butter
- 5 TBSP flour
- 2 cups milk
Ham shanks are my new favorite ingredient for soups that usually have ham in them. Cook them in with the soup, bones and fat and all. You will be rewarded with bigger pieces of super-tender ham along with a richer broth.
Place the ham shanks and chicken broth in a 6 quart pot over medium heat.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic, chop the celery, onion and carrots and add them to the pot.
Then chop the potatoes and add them to the pot.
Season with black pepper to taste and add water to cover the ingredients if needed.
Cover and cook for half an hour, then transfer everything to a crock pot. Cook on high for an additional four hours, while you go see a movie. I recommend The Decendants. With George Clooney. In Hawai’i. (Really, really good movie, plus it takes place in places I’ve been so it seemed like a vacation!)
Come out of the theater into the greyness of a typical January afternoon, drive home, open the door and rejoice in the amazing aroma of the best ham and potato soup that is almost ready!
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
Stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook until it bubbles.
Then add the milk, 1 cup at a time. Use a whisk if lumps start to happen. Remove from heat when thick and smooth.
Remove the ham shanks from the crock pot and separate the meat from the fat and bones. Shred the meat with a fork.
Add the milk mixture to the crock pot, and then the ham meat. Stir to combine.
Ladle up a nice big bowl-full and garnish with a bit of shredded cheese and fresh chopped chives. Maybe toast and butter a couple pieces of a nice crusty bread. Now there ya go.
Maybe if you get close enough to your monitor you can smell the wonderful creamy, smoky, comfort-food yumminess of this soup.
Maybe you’ll just have to take my word for it, until you make some for yourself. And then—shhhhh don’t let your family hear—hide any leftovers in the fridge for YOUR lunch. Mmmmmm, yummy!
This soup got an “Oh. My. Gosh!” from Mr17 on his way to get his second bowl. I couldn’t get him to commit on whether my soup is better than his Dad’s. Well played on his part, even though mine IS yummier!