My youngest sister Carolyn LOVES potato soup. She requests it multiple times a week. So earlier this week when it was freezing and I was missing home and my family, I turned to this soup. 

My potato soup is slightly different from my moms due to my picky sister's preferences (love you tutti). I have a feeling this is the version my mom would make IF she didn't have to deal with so many people to please. It's a chunky potato soup with salty chunks of ham and a subtle sweetness from caramelized leeks and onions. I like my soup on the hearty side but this recipe is easily adapted to your soup preferences. 

potato soup
yields 7 cups

2 leeks
1 large onion
4 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
¼ c. flour
1 c. white wine (i like chardonnay)
4 c. milk
6 potatoes peeled and diced
16 oz (1lb) ham diced

In a medium sized saucepan, add oil and butter and melt over medium heat. Once heated up, add your diced onions and leeks and cook them down until they're transparent. 

While your onions are cooking down, peel and dice (cut into cubes) potatoes. I've taken the lazy route and skipped the peeling part to much regret. I think it would probably depend on the type of potato you use. If it's a yukon gold or red potato it might work. I say take the extra step and peel those babies! 

Once your onions are cooked down, add in the flour and stir until the flour turns to a thick paste. Cook for about 1 minute and then add in your white wine. Give it a stir and then add in your milk. Add your potato cubes and cook at a gentle simmer until potatoes are fork tender about 20 minutes depending on the size of your chunks. 5 minutes before serving, add in your diced ham chunks. My first thought was to add it in the beginning so it would flavor the soup but it actually dries out the ham and that ain't cool. 

improv style:
if you don't have leeks, you can leave them out. i like doing a mixture of the onion family for the subtle flavor variants but it will taste just fine without. if you want to lighten up the soup a bit you could make it with chicken or veggie stock instead of milk and add a hint of cream at the end or greek yogurt. i think this soup would be even more awesome if you made it with buttermilk. you can leave the ham out if you want it to be vegetarian. sometimes i throw in frozen corn or peas into the mix and that's good too. 

if you like your soup on the thinner side, add more liquid. you can also puree the soup before you add the ham chunks if you're not into the chunky thing. i like my potato soup rustic. this is an easy recipe to adjust to your taste. you could even do a twist on a loaded baked potato and do bacon and chives with cheddar cheese on top, mmmmm!


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