Looking back over my last few blog entries, I could easily imagine someone thinking that I am not feeding my husband all that well--unless you count cake balls and brownies as a balanced diet. However, I promise that I have been cooking actual food too! Case in point: cheesy ham and potato soup (with lots of veggies!).
I found the recipe here and intend to use the base again in future soup recipes. To get started, you will need:
First, chop all your vegetables (onion, celery, carrot, potatoes). Place the vegetables, ham, and chicken broth in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil, and then continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes (or until potatoes are soft). Add in salt and pepper.
Next, in a separate sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and stir in the flour until thick and all lumps are removed. This is called a roux, if you've never made one before! Once this step is complete, add in your two cups of milk a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add in the shredded cheddar cheese. Continue cooking until thick and the cheese is melted, about another 4-5 minutes.
Finally, add the milk mixture to the broth/veggie mixture in the sauce pan, and cook until heated through. And that's it--homemade soup that's better than Panera's with minimal effort! How easy is that?
And if you are concerned about the thickness of the soup (I *heart* a thick soup), this one not only starts out fairly thick, but if you refrigerate it over night and reheat it the next day, it takes on the thickness of a chowder and is even more delicious! (You can also always add more chicken stock to thin it out if you prefer a thinner soup, as well). Either way, serve it warm, with an extra sprinkling of cheese on top if desired!
Enjoy, and be sure to check back this winter for new soup recipes! :)