Easy Potato Soup with Ham

Here’s a simple potato soup recipe that skips most of the rich add-ins that can lower such a vegetable soup to a guilty pleasure. Gone are heavy dairy ingredients like half and half or sour cream, unless you use indulgent leftover mashed potatoes.

Serves 8

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 14 oz can sliced potatoes, diced
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 14 oz diced ham (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 32 oz mashed potatoes (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 T dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 t pepper

Melt butter in dutch over medium heat. Add onions and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add carrots and celery. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are crisp tender. Add broth, ham, and canned potatoes. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in mashed potatoes and sprinkle with parsley. Soup is ready to serve when heated through.

Experiment: Simple Ham Slow Cooker Dinner

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My quest for new simple dinners continues. Today I tried to push the limit of how basic I could make a complete ham dinner with a slow cooker. This experiment was of limited success. The long hours of stewing produced a rich amber broth that lent a robust flavor to this dinner, but I made some mistakes in cooking time and volume of ingredients that toughened the ham and potatoes.

My 5 qt. slow cooker has a liner that can be removed, so I decided to assemble the dinner the night before and store it in the fridge until morning. As I was filling the crock, I noticed that I had erred in a scaling the recipe: the crock would be full to the brim if I continued. I’ve had three slow cookers over the years, and all of them came with instructions that the cooker should be 1/2 to 3/4 full for best results. Today I learned that I should not have ignored this advice.

I also learned that a ham can’t quite withstand an entire work day of slow cooking. It starts to fall apart and dry out a bit, even if it is submerged in liquid.

I present this recipe with the corrections I’d make if I were to cook this again. The taste was great, but I think these alterations would greatly improve the results.

  • 3 lb boneless hickory ham
  • 8 oz sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 1 lb baby red or yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup water

Place ham cut side down in slow cooker. Add sliced mushrooms around the ham. Top mushrooms with cut onion, separating wedges if needed to make a full ring around ham. Next layer the potatoes and carrots over the onions and pour the cup of water over all.

Cook on low 6-7 hours.