Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ham and Potato Soup w/ French Bread

I have had the recipe for Ham and Potato soup in my file for a long time and was excited to try it. Soup in July? you say. Well, it's Alaska and it has been raining for weeks it seems like. Today I even had to turn on the heat to warm up the house. So it seemed like a perfect day for soup and bread. This soup was AMAZING!!! It was so easy. Made with simple ingredients that most people have on hand. I will be making it again and again.

The French bread also turned out to be extremely tasty. I think I will do an egg wash on it to make the crust look better next time.

Ham and Potato Soup
recipe from

3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat and it worked great)
2 cups milk

Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, 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.

French Bread
What You'll Need for the Starter:
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups of warm water
In a glass bowl mix together flour, salt and yeast until incorporated. Stir in hot water and let sit covered to proof at room temperature for 6-8 hours.

What You'll Need to Make the Loaves:
1 proofed starter (See above)
2-4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
Slowly add flour 1 cup at a time stirring with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Depending on the humidity you may need some or all or the flour, or even need to add just a bit more. Bread is finicky like that, or more aptly flour is. Don't worry if you don't need to add all of the flour or even if you need a bit more than 4 cups. When you dough is soft and springy you'll know to stop. Place the dough ball on a floured surface and then cut it in two and shape into two long loaves. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet. Next comes slashing. I like to make the slashes on the top of the loaves BEFORE they rise. Place sheet in a warm place to rise for thirty minutes to an hour. Once the loaves are risen preheat oven to 425 F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until loaves are golden. Let cool 5 minutes and then they are ready to slice and serve!

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