I don’t usually cook a big Christmas dinner. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had anything that resembled a ‘traditional’ Christmas meal. But this year, I outdid myself. The week of Christmas I made a turkey dinner one day and a ham dinner a different day. It was delicious and decadent, but oh boy the leftovers. I don’t really like ham, so why I decided to make a 13 pound, bone-in, spiral-cut ham is a mystery. Leftovers are perplexing. I don’t like ham sandwiches (or really any sandwich), so the usual is out. You can only feed a family beans with ham for so long before you have to vacate the house (after all, beans are the musical fruit). Then, I remembered that I made a huge casserole dish full of au gratin potatoes to go with that ham. And the pieces began to fall together. Leftover potatoes make fantastic soup. And what’s better with creamy, cheesy potato soup that smoky pork?
Start by chopping up some leftover ham. I used about a cup of diced ham. If you don’t have that much, no problem, just use what you have. Add about a tablespoon of diced onion. Throw the ham and the onion in a soup pot over very low heat and cook for 15-20 minutes. Yes, it is a long time. Yes, your ham will start to dry out. Yes, you will have some brown bits all over the bottom of the pan. These are all good things. Trust me.
At this point, add about a cup of chicken stock and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add the au gratin potatoes. Break apart the potatoes as you stir them into the broth and ham. You can leave the pieces big or mash them up. (Don’t have au gratin potatoes? Use any leftover potatoes, some milk and cheese). Taste for seasoning. I added a little pepper. Depending on the saltiness of your potatoes, ham and broth, you may need to add a little salt also. When it is seasoned to your liking, ladle it into bowls and serve it piping hot.
1 cup diced ham
1 T diced onion
1-1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 cups au gratin potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Cook ham and onion in a soup pan over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 1 cup chicken stock to ham and onions. Stir well and scrape the brown bits off the pan.
Add au gratin potatoes and stir to incorporate. If desired, mash the potatoes into the stock with a spoon or potato masher. Add additional chicken stock to achieve desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.