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Ham, Potato & Cheese Soup

In Texas, the beginning of fall is mostly just a date on the calendar.  It’s still hangs around 90 degrees and displays varying shades of brown.  While that never  stopped me from cranking down my a/c and breaking out my  fall wardrobe, I’m pretty excited about living in the land of cooler temperatures and hills covered with oranges and yellows and reds this year.

So excited, in fact, that the absolute second we dropped below 80, I whipped out my fall decorations, bought us some apple cider and made us our favorite big pot of soup.

Fair warning, this is not a wimpy soup you get at a ladies’ tea.  Nope, this is a please-your-bearded-husband type soup….Full of ham, potatoes, cheese, cream and topped with bacon.  In fact, this soup is so good, Jay, aka The Man of The Smokin’ F, aka Papa ‘Merica, didn’t want me to share the recipe.  He’s sure that someday when we have our own booming restaurant or catering business, this soup will be a favorite menu item.  So hey, if you make it and love it, just act surprised one day when you order it off of our menu 🙂

And speaking of those bearded manly men, fall at our house also means deer season; which means dinners are far less formal.  My boys are in the woods right up until almost bedtime, so dinners like these, that can be reheated well when they come in, are always a hit.

So without further ado, from our fall table to yours….Ham, Potato & Cheese Soup.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups diced potatoes (I peel about half of them first.  I like the skins but they can be overpowering and gritty if there are too many or they aren’t cleaned well)
  • 4 cups diced ham (leftover holiday ham or turkey ham works very well!)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 8 cups of water
  • 4 Tbs. chicken broth paste
  • 7 Tbs. butter
  • 7 Tbs. flour
  • 3 cups heavy cream or milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional: chopped green onions, celery, and/or hot sauce for topping

1.  In a large pot, boil potatoes, ham, onion, water and chicken broth paste until potatoes are tender.

2. Pre-measure your flour and cream before you start to melt your butter.  And don’t get distracted like I’m prone to do….this parts burns quickly and easily!

In a separate pot, melt butter.  Add in flour and whisk constantly until fluffy and thickened (less than a minute).

3.  Continue to whisk while adding your cream.   Whisk often until a thick and creamy.  Add in cheese and continue to stir until melted.

Can I just take a second to brag on this whisk? The shape is genius! It stirs like a spoon and actually scrapes the bottom as you whisk.  And with chunky ingredients like these, nothing gets caged in like a traditional whisk.  It’s so much easier to clean. One of my favorite kitchen tools from the Pioneer Woman!

4.  Pour your potato mixture into your creamy sauce (or vis versa….depending on which pot is biggest).  Mix until combined well and bring to a very gently boil.  Remove from heat.

5.  Cook bacon slices until they’re crispy.  Cool and crumble.

6.  Ladle the soup in individual bowls and top with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and green onions.  I also like to add a few dashes of  Louisiana One.  Seriously, Heaven in your mouth.  I’m already anticipating leftovers for lunch tomorrow!  Happy fall from all of us here at the Smokin’ F!  🙂

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