With all the excitement of having ham during the holidays, I’m left with a huge chunk that I portion for later use. It’s the best kind of leftover though because it freezes beautifully and is so versatile….there’s no shortage of ways to prepare it. That’s why I don’t mind buying a bigger ham because I already know how to use what’ll be left, even before purchasing one.
My kids love soup and this is one of their favorites. So, I tend to gravitate towards the bigger portions (or whole) rather than the deli-style slices. Whole ham is also cheaper and you get more bang for your buck. Though the boneless type is more convenient, buying bone-in ham also has its perks. You can use it as a flavorful substitute to chicken broth. Just add the bones in a pot with some onions and peppercorns and let it simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. To add more depth to the broth, I add a few teaspoons of my favorite chicken soup base, Better than Bouillon.
I hope the next time you’re thinking of buying ham (especially for Easter or around the holiday season), you’ll remember this. Also, check out this recipe on how I make Filipino Ham with Pineapple-Brown Sugar Glaze.
Ham and Potato Soup
- 2-3 cups ham cut into small cubes
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 large Yukon gold potatoes cut into small cubes**
- 2 large carrots cut into small cubes**
- 2 celery stalks finely diced
- 1 bell pepper finely diced
- 8 cups chicken broth homemade or store bought (reserve ½ cup for the slurry)* (see notes)
- 1 354 ml can evaporated milk
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a large pot using medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and the ham cubes. Cook for 3 minutes before adding in the potatoes, carrots and celery. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Saute for a minute then pour in 7 ½ cups of chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the milk. Combine cornstarch and the reserved (room temperature) ½ cup broth. Slowly pour into the pot, while stirring.
- Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Add the chopped bell pepper and simmer for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot with toast or crackers.