Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creamy Potato Soup and Oven Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

In celebration of the one year anniversary of this blog, I took yesterday off. Not really. Actually, yesterday I had out-of-town company, my daughter's "See My School Night", piles of laundry, bags to pack for our upcoming trip, a Halloween costume to sew (my daughter insists that she needs to model it for her grandmas while we're visiting...upping my deadline a bit), and prep work to do for the preschool snack (this week it's the letter "P", so we're making pumpkin cookies and pizzas on a cracker). If I were superhuman maybe I could've made time to blog...but alas, I am a mere mortal. By the way, if you haven't entered your name for my giveaway, it's not too late. I'm taking entries until Thursday night. You could be the winner!

Today I'm back and with temperatures dipping into the 30's, soup is in order! I was reading a recipe for Potage Parmentier (Potato and Leek Soup) by Julia Child on a blog that I follow, Always Order Dessert (excellent name and philosophy if you ask me!) I fell in love with the recipe, it reminded me of the potato soup that my mom used to make. Right away, I decided that I needed to make my own version of this comforting classic. Now if you're in the mood for a Cheesy Potato Soup or a Loaded Baked Potato Soup, just click these links. Those are really good too. Truthfully, my family prefers those. But me, I prefer a simplified version of potato soup...like mom used to make.

Ms. Child used bacon, but I used this smoked pork loin that I pulled from the freezer. It was leftover from my daughter's birthday party. Bacon, leftover ham, and deli ham would all work just fine here. I chopped up half of a pound and fried it up in my soup pot. Then I removed the pork and set it aside for later. I left the drippings to infuse some of that smoky flavor into the soup.

Into the drippings, I added another 2 tablespoons of butter, a chopped onion, and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Saute for a few minutes, until the onions are tender.

Then add in 2 lbs. of cubed potatoes. Saute and stir for another 10 minutes. I didn't have to stir this at all. I assigned the sous chef (my 5 year old) to all of the stirring. She also tried her hand at potato peeling. I know, such responsible parenting. I promise that I advised her on proper technique and closely supervised. Hey, she's gotta learn sometime, right? I learned early. She's such a quick study that now I can't wait to teach her how to wash the base boards and scrub tile grout. : )

Now pour in 8 cups of chicken broth. Low sodium may be a good idea here. After cooking it down, I found my soup to be a touch salty. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and continue boiling for 30 minutes. The liquid should be reduced by about 1/3 and the potatoes should be tender.

Now, remove 2/3 of the soup and process in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can just mash the potatoes the old fashioned way, with your mixer or hand held potato masher.

Stir the processed potatoes back into the soup and add in the pork, bacon, or ham.

Stir 2 cups of milk (I used whole) into 1/3 cup of flour until smooth. Stir the milk/flour mixture into the soup and return to a low boil for a few minutes, stirring so that it doesn't stick to the bottom.

Salt and pepper to taste and serve garnished with fresh parsley. Just look at the goods here! Hearty, creamy, chunky, smoky...delicious!

Creamy Potato Soup

1/2 lb. of ham or bacon
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups whole milk
8 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh parsley, for garnish

In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, saute the bacon or ham pieces until crisp. Remove the pork and reserve, leaving the fat (drain half of the fat if using bacon) in the pot.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the onion to the bacon fat and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and potato cubes and continue to saute in the pan for another 10 minutes, keeping an eye to make sure that the garlic doesn't burn.

Pour in the broth, then raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, partially covered, for 5 minutes. Lower the heat and let simmer for another 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by a 1/3 and the potatoes are fork tender.

Using an immersion blender, food processor, handheld mixer or by processing in batches in a stand-up blender, process 2/3 of the soup until smooth. Return processed potatoes to the soup in the pot. Stir in pork. Combine the milk with 1/3 cup of flour until smooth. Pour into the soup and bring to a lazy boil.

Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve.

I served this soup with my favorite ham and cheese sandwich of all time. I can't believe that I haven't posted this recipe on here yet! These are a BIG deal. I remember mentioning them here before. I served them at my daughter's first birthday party last January. I make them for parties (they're excellent for your Super Bowl get togethers or New Year's Eve parties) or an easy weeknight dinner. They're one of my most requested recipes and my husband's brother craves them for the whole 5 hour drive to our house...so I always have them waiting. They freeze well. I usually make them in bulk, 48 at a time. My husband and I set up an assembly line and turn these babies out like hotcakes. Just give em' a try. I just know you'll join the fan club!

Oven Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

1 1/2 cups softened butter
3/4 cup horseradish mustard
6 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
24 hamburger buns
24 slices Swiss or provolone cheese
5-6 lbs. shaved deli ham
24 squares aluminum foil

Combine the first 4 ingredients. Spread on the top and bottom of each bun. Assemble sandwich with ham and cheese. Wrap in foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until center of sandwich is hot and cheese is melted.


Coleens Recipes said...

This soup and sandwich is OVER THE TOP in comfort food level. I've never had much luck with potato soup, so I'm going to give yours a try. Oh yummm.

Alycia Freimund said...

I have found a very similar recipe for ham and cheese. YUMMY. I haven't tried to freeze them. I am worried that they would get soggy with the butter mixture. Any freezing tips?

Krista said...

Coleen, I hope you like it as much as I do!

Hi Alycia! I just wrap the sandwiches in foil and then I stick them in the bags that the buns came out of and twist tie before sticking the bags into the freezer. They are a little soggier after freezing, but once baked, the buns still toast on the top and bottom. I acually like them better after they've been frozen. That may be just me...but I haven't heard any complaints upon feeding the sandwiches from the freezer to a crowd. Good luck! Let me know how yours turn out if you make em'.

Palidor said...

That's a great way to get a creamy-textured soup without using cream. The entire meal looks wonderful. I would love to dip the sandwich crusts into that lovely soup.

Reeni said...

The soup sounds really good - so comforting and warming!

Alejandra Ramos said...

Oh wow! Those sandwiches look amazing. I will definitely be trying them. And I love the use of ham in the soup!

Amy said...

So.... Is this the actual "secret sauce" or a fooler! ;o)

Chicago Mom said...

Wow! Those both sound delicious - I can't wait to try them!

Katy ~ said...

These look SO SO GOOD!!! Oh my stars I would love both of these right now!! I am starving for this!

Krista said...

Amy, it is the ACTUAL "secret sauce". And now you have the recipe. : )

jjl731 said...

Oh my, those sandwiches look amazing! I will be making those!

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