Soup Series: Classic Potato

It was kind of a rough one in our household this past weekend. Both Dane and myself picked up colds somewhere (see my last post – I KNEW this was coming, it’s like I looked into a crystal ball.) Mine is more sinuses and a stuffed up head than anything and Dane’s is either a true cold OR he’s finally going to cut some teeth. Side note: we have been expecting him to cut teeth since about 3 months old – the kiddo drools more than any baby I’ve ever encountered. How is there so much liquid in there? Though I hate to see him sick, I will admit that our Saturday 3 hours long snuggle session has been one of my favorite 3 hours in a very long time. He fell asleep on my chest and I watched part of a Harry Potter marathon – it was like heaven. My baby boy rarely wants to cuddle anymore, so even though I needed to pee and should have used those hours to clean, I just couldn’t put him down.

Last night was a doozy filled with many late night screaming sessions and thrashing – very uncharacteristic of D, who has been sleeping through the night now for a couple of months. Monday was consumed with caffeine and trying to keep my eyes open. The sickness is gong around my office so my coworkers can commiserate with me and it somehow helps, knowing I’m not the only one…

Anyway, one good thing about sickness is the soup that almost always accompanies it! I’m excited to share with you the soup that can probably be given credit for starting my obsession. It’s by far the easiest, most basic of all the soups I make, but something about it brings such comfort to my soul. Back when I was in college, I would make a big pot for all of my roommates during Sunday study sessions, and still get requests for this soup on chilly fall and winter afternoons. It’s inexpensive, quick to make and more filling than you’d expect it to be. It is perfectly accompanied by a chunk of crusty sourdough bread and a cold glass of milk.

What You Need

  • 5 large baking potatoes (I use these because they are bigger and I loathe peeling potatoes, so there is less of that involved)
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped finely
  • 1 medium onion – yellow or white – chopped finely
  • 1 package of ham cubed (brand doesn’t matter – you could also get this from the deli)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Water to cover the potatoes – I eyeball it, but as a guess 8 cups.

**This makes a HUGE pot of soup, and leftovers just get better and better.

I always start by getting the potatoes boiling because they take the longest to cook through. Peel and chop (I go smaller to speed up cooking), and add to a big pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes by about one inch or so and add salt to season those bad boys up. I throw a lid on to get them going more quickly (notice a trend here?) Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sauté your chopped veggies in the butter until they are soft – probably about 5-10 minutes. I let the potatoes cook until they are pretty tender, you can easily smash them against the side of the pot, then add the veggies + butter mixture. Next I add in the diced ham and let that cook for a little bit – ham is already cooked through so its just warming it and infusing the soup with that great flavor. My biggest trick here is to use a potato masher to get the potatoes nice and little, but you could easily keep them in bigger chunks, it’s just as good. Add your pepper and any extra salt you’d like (remember you salted the potatoes in the beginning and ham is salty so you may not need extra). You can keep this on the stove on low all day, but make sure to stir it occasionally – the potatoes are heavy and tend to settle at the bottom, resulting in burnt potatoes… I’ve done this and it’s not a happy thing!

So there you have it – my favorite potato soup recipe! Sometimes the simplest things in life are the very best. I have topped this with cheese, added corn, bacon and many other things over the years but the traditional recipe still wins in my opinion.




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Wisconsin wife and mama to Dane (4) and expecting baby girl in May. Navigating life post-cancer. Lover of food, red wine and laughs. Forever grateful for my wonderful life.

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