Lots of Ham is left over from Holidays, what a perfect way to have warm comfort food made into a Cheese Ham Potato Soup. Made this classic soup for years by the gallons, everyone was asking when are you going to make more? It’s time to share my Cheese Ham Potato Soup recipe.
Ham Potato and Cheese a perfect combination:
With lots of ham leftover from Holidays, and weather starts to get really cold out, this combination of foods really comfort you. Starting with star the ham dice into nice bite size pieces no bigger than 1/2 inch. The ham must fit onto the soup spoon nicely. Be generous with the ham in the soup the amount of ham and potatoes need to be plentiful.
Next comes the potatoes, choose waxy variety the baby red or baby Yukon gold works perfectly. Baby potatoes or B size haven’t developed as much starch in early stage of growth. These potatoes hold up well as the soup simmers. A mealy potato can become mushy and very starchy texture soup so avoid using russet potatoes. Cut the potatoes just like the ham into 1/2 inch bite size pieces, or slice in food processor thicker setting. If prepping ahead cover slice potatoes with cold water so they don’t discolor. Be sure to drain off water before making soup.
Don’t forget the Cheese this really boosts favor of the soup. Coming from Wisconsin aka Cheddar Heads, pick good tasting Cheddar Cheese. If all possible shred your own cheese, pre shredded cheese has anti caking agents that effect soup consistency. A good sharp cheese really builds the flavor of the soup. The key reason so many guests ask for second helping.
Body of the soup:
Selecting the right liquid for soup is important, they’re two ways to make this soup with milk or with stock. If you plan on making just enough soup to completely consume then use milk base. Milk base soup has great body but doesn’t reheat very well, so consume the whole batch of soup.
The stock base soup or veloute style soup is more stable will hold longer and reheats better. To achieve a similar constancy as milk base soup add heavy cream to liquid part of soup. Cream brings richness to soup, that’s why so many Chefs like to use veloute style soup.
To accomplish a wonderful creamy cheesy soup body is by using a roux to thicken soup. Roux is equal parts flour and butter cooked or 2 to 3 minutes. This provides a great thinking power for stock or milk.
First step is to cook the potatoes and ham in some stock until just tender. Then thicken with roux, this is important step the potatoes will not cook if the soup liquid is thickened. There is high chance that soup will scorch on bottom of the pan. Stir the soup as potatoes are cooking this also helps prevent bottom of pan scorching.
Time to add the shredded cheese to potato ham soup, stirring constantly until all the cheeses are all melted. Keep the heat on low temperatures this helps prevent scorching cheese and melting properly.
Final adjustment and seasoning the soup:
Adjusting the seasoning first with salt is important, add the salt at the very end of seasoning process prevents over salty soup. This is a lighter soup so use white pepper and a little cayenne pepper to achieve the perfect profile. If the soup is too thick add some stock or milk to adjust consistency. But if soup too thin a quick fix is slurry of cornstarch and cold water mixture. Be sure to simmer soup after adjustments to achieve perfect balance.
Garnishing soup is also important, keep it simple and colorful. Try use garnishes that soup represents, like shredded cheeses, julienne ham. But there needs to be a green element to contrast the color of cheeses and ham. Fresh herb works great, rosemary, parsley, dill, cilantro, chives, even celery leaves and green onion all work fine. Be creative but don’t overdue the with too many garnishes.