Colorado never ceases to amaze me. It’s May and we’re still getting snow. Well, we got inches of snow last weekend, but still… SNOW! In MAY! What happened to Spring?
Oh well, before you know it the sun comes out and melts everything away. Plus, snow is an excuse for me to dust off the ol’ crock pot and make something that is warm and makes the entire house smell like awesome.
Like these scalloped potatoes for example. Oh my yum. These are hot, cheesy, and the perfect amount of salty from the ham. Just… drool-worthy. I burnt the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t wait to get this into my mouth.
Totally worth it.
Snow and scalloped potatoes… who needs Spring? Okay I do. But for now, I have these flowers.
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thin
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (NOT extra-sharp cheddar)
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1-1/2 cups diced thick-cut ham, cooked
Prepare your slow-cooker: Fold a sheet of parchment paper into a 3-inch strip and place inside perimeter of slow-cooker insert (along the sides). Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking spray. This will prevent the potatoes around the edge of the cooker from burning.
Par-cook potatoes: Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons cream in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the edges of potatoes are translucent, 6-8 minutes, shaking bowl (without moving plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.
Whisk broth and cornstarch in large liquid measuring cup until smooth. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture, remaining cream, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, add cheeses, whisking until smooth. Add ham and combine.
Pour half of sauce into slow-cooker insert. Arrange potatoes in even layer over sauce and pour remaining sauce over potatoes. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are tender, 5-6 hours. Let cool 20 minutes. Remove parchment and serve.
I recently applied to my dream job at Dishcrawl and landed an interview next week! It’s a job that mixes my love of food with my passion for Marketing. How exciting! I realized that in my cover letter I forgot to mention my favorite thing to cook (and had to blog about it immediately). To answer your question Dishcrawl (not that I think you’ll actually read this… *wink*) I absolutely love making soups! Soups, to me, remind me of home in Wisconsin. You see, I did not come from a family of cooks, but one thing that my Grandma and my Mom did pass down to me is their favorite Polish Chicken Dumpling Soup recipe. Over the years I’ve created all sorts of wacky soup combinations but the family recipe has remained intact… for now.
Anywho, this post isn’t about Chicken soup it’s about Potato soup! This Loaded Baked Potato Soup is one of my latest creations. It was inspired by a recipe I created for my Vegan friend and her boyfriend. They recently hosted a Tator-Tot themed movie night and all of the food that we brought had something to do with tator-tots. I created a Baked Potato/Tator-Tot Pizza for this very occasion. The flavors were so awesome and it has been so cold here lately, this soup was bound to happen!
Continuing with my “Cleanse,” I wanted to use up the frozen ham bone that had been sitting in my freezer since Christmas. The ham bone provided the perfect base for this soup. If you don’t have a ham bone, you can cut up a ham steak and use low-sodium chicken broth for the base instead. Either way, you’ll end up with a creamy, hearty soup that tastes just like you’re eating a loaded baked potato. Yum!
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Shredded Cheddar, Chopped Green Onion and Bits of Bacon, for topping
Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and stock in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately with cheddar cheese, green onion and bits of bacon.
My co-worker has raved about this soup for months now. She claims it’s the “best soup ever.” I was a bit hesitant. I mean, this soup doesn’t have any chicken, bacon, or cream in it — how in the world could this soup be even remotely good? 🙂
Now I have never made a ham and bean soup before, let alone eaten one, so I really don’t know how this compares to other ham and bean soups. But what I can tell you is this — this soup is irresistibly tasty. Do it!
I used dry beans for this recipe. You obviously don’t have to, but if you do use dry beans, I have one piece of advice: Do NOT leave the kitchen while your beans boil, or you may have a big mess on your hands… woops!
Sauté the veggies and ham in a pan until the onions are tender. Add the remaining ingredients, except the peas and parsley, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes then serve with parsley.
2-3 (16-ounce) cans of beans, rinse and drained (I used kidney, chili and Great Northern beans) **see note
4 cups of chicken broth, low sodium
1 cup water
1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
In a large saucepan, sauté ham, onion and garlic in butter until the onion is tender. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for another minute or two. Add the next six ingredients, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf, taste test and add salt if necessary. Add peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Add parsley and serve.
To use dry beans, soak your beans overnight (do not skip this step... unless you love flatulence!). Drain and replace with enough water to cover the beans by an inch. Bring to a boil, cover then lower the heat to your lowest setting. Allow the beans to simmer for an hour or two, until the beans are tender. You will need to check on the beans from time to time to make sure there is enough water to keep the beans moist.
My family still raves about this recipe. I made this ham for Christmas a few years ago. I remember it well because that was the year James Brown died (god rest his soul). I threw a James Brown themed Christmas dinner in his honor. My mom still hoots and hollers about the ham I made to this day. So without hesitation, I added this recipe to my Christmas feast this year.
The best part about this glaze? There’s nothing to it really. The ingredients are simple enough, and the ham is already cooked. You’re really just allowing all of these wonderful flavors to absorb into the meat.
1 (14 to 16-pound) fully cooked smoked ham on the bone
6 cloves of garlic, minced
8.5-ounces orange marmalade
1/2 cup dijon mustard (I like stone-ground)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan and lightly score the skin with a large knife.
Combine garlic, marmalade, mustard, brown sugar, cloves, orange zest and orange juice and process in a food processor until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake, loosely covered, for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned.