If you’ve spent any time around here, you know how much I enjoy a comforting and nourishing bowl of soup.
Soup is one of life’s perfect solutions. Bits of this and that in your vegetable crisper? Make soup. Leftover chicken, turkey or beef? Make soup. Ham bone? Soup. Beets in season? More soup. Giant package of mushrooms or bag of potatoes? You got it…soup.
Soup is naturally a budget stretcher. With, perhaps, the exception of seafood soups, though depending on where you live and the type of seafood, they can also be budget friendly.
It just so happened, I had another ham bone to press into service. Using bones from roasted meat is a great way to enhance flavour and nutrition in your soup. You could, of course, make soup stock with either cooked or uncooked bones; but, sometimes, all you need to do is throw that bone in with the other ingredients, particularly if you’ll be adding milk or cream. Having said that, if you don’t have a ham bone, it will still taste great, especially if you use stock in place of water.
I really enjoy potato soup–especially decked out like a loaded baked potato. I make a few variations (I don’t really use a recipe), but this is the base ‘recipe’ with a ham bone addition for a little extra. Think bacon flavour without the bacon. At the end, top with your favourite baked potato toppings: sour cream, cheese, green onions or chives and actual crumbled bacon. Oh ya…that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
For a printable recipe, click here:
Begin by sautéing onions in butter, right in your soup pot to keep clean-up to a minimum.
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of butter (or oil if you need it dairy -free)
While those are softening, prep your potatoes.
- 8-10 potatoes, peeled and cubed (russet potatoes are best, but I’ve used lots of different varieties)
Add these to your pot and cover with water or stock. Soup is very forgiving. Use what stock you have and add enough water to make up the difference. Water would even be fine, especially if you have a ham bone to use. I used just water, plus a little of the juices from the ham (not too much–it’s very salty!) If you don’t have a bone–not to worry, it’ll still be great.
Next, you’ll add a few other veggies for flavour and a little colour. Again, these are just guidelines; use what you have. Perhaps you have some leeks; that would taste amazing. Sneak in zucchini. Add some garlic.
- 2-3 carrots, shredded or diced
- 2-3 stalks of celery, diced (use the leaves, too, if you can)
- pinch of cayenne (may I point out here that herbs really are not necessary if you’re going to add layers of flavour with toppings, but if you want to you could add a bit of parsley, thyme or oregano)
- salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a boil and let cook for at least 20 minutes. You want everything very soft. At this point, if I was making a dairy-free version, I would scoop out a portion into a second pot. This time, as you noticed I used butter, so no dairy-free soup this time. Remove ham bone before proceeding.
This next part is controversial. To blend or not to blend. This is the question. The answer? Whichever you prefer. Not taking sides here. I like it all three ways, but I’ll be blending mine today. If you like your potato soup smooth, now is the time to use an immersion blender to get it to your desired consistency. If you like it chunk-ay leave it and skip to the next step. Like it somewhere in between? Just mash it with your potato masher of choice (another controversial topic).
Now you add:
- 1 cup of cream, milk, or dairy-free milk of choice.
Cook until heated through. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. If you find the soup is too thick, add more milk or cream. If it is too thin, make a slurry of a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch with milk and add to your soup and cook for five minutes.
Serve with your favourite baked potato toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onion, chives, or bacon.
Dish it up. Top it up. Gobble it up. Yum.