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(Cheap and) Delicious Ham and Potato Soup

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My favorite potato soup recipe follows. This is a post that I like to pull out whenever someone asks me for leftover ham recipes, or when it gets cold outside and only potato soup will do.

Not long ago, I found a great deal on whole hams at Dillons. I debated whether to buy such a huge ham, but at just over a dollar a pound it was a great deal. Then I noticed a sticker on the ham that says Dillons will cut and wrap it free! Here’s what the helpful meat-department employee brought out to me:
Ham on Sale Cut and Wrapped Free

He even double-wrapped them so that they could go straight to the freezer.

So we had these nice ham steaks in the freezer and one night I came home from a conference to find that my husband had Delicious Ham and Potato Soup on the stove waiting. It was — and I really don’t want to admit this — better than my regular homemade potato soup, which is famous in its deliciousness.

Obviously I had to reclaim my territory as the ultimate chef in the soup department so as soon as I saw the snow falling here in Wichita today I knew it was time to make this. We still had some ham steaks in the freezer, a big bag of potatoes, a little bit of celery, an onion, and the ingredients to make a roux.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup each diced celery and onions
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • salt and pepper to taste
    And for the roux/bechamel/cream sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk

gorgeous ham and potato soup recipe

The roux (in this case a white sauce, aka béchamel) is the only tricky part and really it’s only tricky if you’ve never done it before. (Part of the problem, I’m sure, is the intimidating French name. But the ingredients? Butter, flour, and milk, in that order.)

Here’s the soup before thickening.

Next, make the roux. Add flour to melted butter:
Making bechamel - add flour to melted butter

Then whisk together and let it cook for about a minute:
Making bechamel - whisk together and allow it to cook for a minute
Slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time:
Making bechamel - slowly add milk, whisking the entire time
It will become more or less smooth and creamy as it thickens:
Making bechamel - whisk until smooth and thickened
Add your white sauce to the potato soup, heat through, and serve. Mmm!

Add bechamel to the potato soup

I got the tip about finding ham on sale from the Kansas Pork Association, which has advertised here on Wichita on the Cheap. Thanks, Jodi!

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