Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season. Can you believe 2023 has rolled in already? I am convinced that after July 4th the year basically just flies by. At that point the summer is sort of winding down. Yes, I know that sounds crazy considering that July is just starting and there’s still August to get through. But, after that it seems like the anticipation of summer fun fades away. And then September rolls in and it’s all about back-to-school and the Fall. And before you know it it’s Halloween and then Thanksgiving and lo and behold the Holidays are upon us again. Not trying to be negative or anything but it’s definitely true that as you get older time somehow goes by faster. It’s probably because we are more aware of days, dates and holidays and everything that must – and needs to – get done. All the traditions and things we just do because we have been doing them forever. The holidays are the perfect time to get caught up in that. As they say, it’s hard to break with tradition. Not that there is anything wrong with it, I’m guilty of it myself.
For as long as I can remember I’ve eaten ham on New Year’s Day. It was something that my parents always cooked on New Year’s Day. I am not a 100% sure why, I vaguely recall my mom saying it was for good luck. I did a Google search once and as it turns out there’s a belief that you should eat pork on New Year’s Day as pigs move their snouts forward when eating – or something to that effect. This forward motion brings you luck in the new year. Here’s the thing though, I am not a fan of ham! There may have been a few times when I did enjoy it and look forward to eating it but definitely not often. The tradition is so engrained in me though that even though my dad passed away 7 years ago, and my mom has been in a nursing home longer than that I still make ham for myself on New Year’s Day! Subconsciously it’s probably a way for me to feel comforted and connected to memories.
For a few years I would begrudgingly eat the ham for a few days. And let me tell you even the smallest ham is too big so there would always be a ridiculous amount of leftovers even after me eating it for those days. One year, I even chopped up some of the ham and froze it convinced that I would do something with it, I didn’t, and it ended up getting tossed. Two years ago, I decided to make soup with it. And it was the best decision ever. So now, I look forward to the ham only because of the soup I know I will be making with it. For tradition’s sake though I still eat a slice or two on New Year’s Day. Come January 2nd though it’s time for Ham & Potato Soup.
I like to think it’s somewhat healthy since it is homemade and loaded with vegetables.
Just ignore the stick of butter and whole milk that’s also needed to make it. Truth be told, those are the ingredients that help to make it creamy and delicious so they can’t be omitted.
Unfortunately, even after making my delicious soup I still have more than half of the ham left in my fridge. I was hoping to buy a small canned one this year but by the time I got to the supermarket they only had 2 large ones left and I wasn’t in the mood to start driving around looking for a small one. So, once again I will chop up some of it and freeze it and really make a conscious effort to use it for other things. Maybe I will make something controversial like a Ham & Pineapple Pizza. LOL!
Ham & Potato Soup
1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
3 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped*
2 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup flour
4 cups (32 oz. carton) low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
*Use 1 very large or 2 medium potatoes. Chop the potatoes into decent sized chunks as they will break down as the soup cooks.
In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until the carrots begin to soften and the onions are translucent. About 4-5 minutes.
Add the ham and potatoes, stir everything together and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Stir in the stock, mixing everything together. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and boil for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Stir occasionally.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the milk. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken and the soup is heated through.
Season with salt and pepper.
Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.