Thursday, February 6, 2014

Old-fashioned Country Hambone Potato Soup

My grandmother loved potato soup.  It's one of my very favorites, too.  I have several really good recipes and I used to make them all for her.  One day she and I were discussing soup and she was reminiscing about some that her mother used to make when she was a little girl.  She talked about her mother cracking the hambone and stretching every morsel of food to feed her family.  She had such fond memories of that soup that I was determined to recreate the recipe and give her a little bit of home again. 

My best try was this soup.  As my official taste tester, she gave this one her stamp of approval and a new family favorite was born.  My son had a special place in Mama Pete's heart, so it seems only fitting that this is his all-time favorite soup.  He loves it so much that he makes sure to put ham on his family menu plan so that we can have hambone soup with the leftovers.

I've share this recipe before, but thought I'd share again tonight as we watch the Olympics and think of my grandmother.  Oh, how I miss her.  

Easy Hambone Potato Soup

3 ½ cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
leftover hambone
3 ¼ cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon ham flavored soup base (I use L.B. Jamison's)
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk

Boil hambone in water—enough to cover.  Remove bone from stock.  Add the potatoes, onion, ham pieces to stockpot.  Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in the chicken bouillon, soup base, salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. 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, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.  Add hot cornbread and a salad for the perfect meal.  Cheddar cheese can be sprinkled over the top for even more YUM!  I actually double the recipe and we have very few leftovers.  

This is just SO good.  And it brings back some wonderful memories that simply make me smile.  I think that's what comfort food is all about.  Don't you?

What are your favorite "memory-friendly" foods?  I'd love to hear.  
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