It’s Fall, and there’s nothing like hot soup on a cold afternoon. If you made a ham from your Spring bear, or from any other critter you’ve brought home, this is a great way to use up the leftovers. Even leftovers from Sunday dinner with your pork-eating in-laws will work well.
This recipe is largely variable. The liquid and flour ratios are the most important because that’s what makes it thicker, but everything else is largely dependant on what you like in your food. Also, the thicker chunks of potato, the longer it takes to cook.
What You Need
1 1/2 Cups bear ham, diced…or more. I like meat in my soup.
1/3 Cup butter (maybe more)
2-3 carrots, sliced or chopped
3-4 large potatoes, diced. Yellow potatoes are nice in a soup.
2 stalks of celery
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (a tablespoon or two from jar)
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup of flour (maybe more to thicken)
2-8 Cups of stock. I used elk stock, but you can use beef or chicken stock, too. If you don’t have stock, use boullion to make broth.
2 teaspoons chicken bullion, optional. My ham had plenty of flavor and seasoning, but this will add more flavor for pork hams.
Salt and pepper to taste; maybe a little cayenne pepper.
A big pot or dutch oven
Optional: 1 1/2 Cups of dairy. Use milk, cream, sour cream, or plain yogurt. The yogurt is good for lactose-free.
What You Do
Start by warming your dutch oven on the stove. While it’s getting up to medium/medium-high heat, slice the carrots and add them to the pot with half the butter. They take a while to soften, so they can get started while you dice the other veggies.
Add the celery and onions and saute for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic next, and then add the meat and potatoes. Stir frequently and let it cook for about 3 minutes. Add more butter as needed to keep things frying, not burning.
Sprinkle the flour in and mix to coat everything well. Cook for two minutes
Add the stock and stir thoroughly. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just fork tender, which may be as little as 10 minutes or up to 20.
If you’re adding dairy, reduce the heat to low and add it now. Keep stirring — if you don’t stir enough, the milk will scald to the bottom of the pot. If it does scald, don’t scape it! just turn off the heat and scoop the soup from the top. Scraping will mix the burn throughout the pot and it tastes bad.
Tip: Put the stock/broth into a microwave-safe dish and heat it up before adding it to reduce the cook time.