ham, potato, and leek soup

We really like ham around our house.  Unfortunately, with only two full-time occupants, buying even a small ham can result in a lot leftover.  I bought this natural-looking (read: not round) chunk of ham specifically to fry up and serve with cream biscuits on Christmas morning.  Naturally that left us with a fairly sizable piece left and, while I’m not opposed to continuing to slice-and-fry, I was hoping for something a bit more imaginative.

With two bags of russet potatoes intended for latkes that never got made (because I am too lazy, apparently) and four leeks languishing in the fridge, I thought a thick, creamy soup would be perfectly appropriate for a cold winter night.

This soup recipe is incredibly easy, and it comes together in just about a half hour, with most of that time being inactive prep.  My one tip would be to go extra-easy on the salt, since ham tends to be fairly salty and it can overpower the delicate flavors of leek and potato if you’re not careful.

ham, potato, and leek soup (3-6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 leeks
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 1 qt. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 lb. ham, diced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Slice the roots and dark green tops off leeks.  Slice lengthwise, then cross-wise, giving you half-moon pieces about 1/2″ thick.  Place leeks in a bowl, then run cold water over them until they are floating.  Swish them around with your fingertips, separating the leek pieces so that the water can wash away any bits of dirt or sand.
  2. When the butter has melted, lift leeks out of the bowl with a spider, give it a quick shake to get rid of most of the water, and add leeks to the soup pot.  Cook about 5 minutes or so, until getting soft.
  3. Rinse the potatoes and peel, if desired.  Chop into roughly 1/2″ pieces and add to the pot, along with the chicken broth.
  4. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.  Turn down to medium-high and simmer 15-25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
  5. Turn off the heat.  With a hand blender, blend until the soup is perfectly smooth, or still has some lumps of potato – to your preferred texture.  Add ham and as much cream as you like.  Heat through.
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