I came by this method from an old friend who has long since moved out of the area. She was a cook in a very popular local diner and was known all over the county for her delicious soups.
Lori R. never relied upon canned ANYTHING to prepare a soup. In fact, she told me the base of this soup is the same for every other cream soup she made, which included Cream of Chicken, New England Clam Chowder, Cream of Broccoli with Cheese, etc. All she did was change up the herbs and spices to suit each individual variety.
The soup is a cornstarch-thickened base. Therefore, it's best served the day it's made. Not that it isn't delicious reheated--it is, but the soup will not be as thick as when it was prepared.
Lori, of course, was a devotee of heavy cream for her soups, but did admit that you could go down to half and half if you wanted to do so, but never EVER use milk, even whole milk, and that it would be an "insult to the soup" to ever use low-fat or skim milk. She's right there, although I don't often use heavy cream. I will use light cream or half and half. Tastes fine.
Cream of Ham & Potato Soup
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 4 tbs butter
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups water, or any stock but beef
- 2 medium potatoes, well scrubbed and cut in chunks--leave skin ON
- 1 cup thickly diced ham
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream, light cream or half and half cream
- salt to taste*
Saute until the celery and onions are just beginning to get tender. Add the water/stock, the potatoes, ham and the pepper. Cook until potatoes are tender.
Mix the cornstarch (the amount is not a typo) with the 3/4 cup water.
Slowly add enough of the cornstarch/water mixture (you may not have to add it all, do it in small steps) to produce a VERY THICK mixture. The spoon should practically stand up in this. It should be the consistency of a very thick pudding. Stir constantly until the mixture bubbles.
GRADUALLY add cream, stirring constantly, to thin the soup out to the desired consistency. You may have to use MORE cream, depending on the desired thickness. I like mine thick, like stew, so the 1 cup of cream works well. Your mileage may vary.
*Add salt if you feel it needs some.
Heat through (do not boil) and serve with a salad or crusty roll. This one's a meal folks, not a starter!!
|Cream of Ham & Potato Soup|