Monday, 25 November 2013

Potato and Ham Soup

Lessons learned:
1. Grandpa and grandma's recipes are always the best recipes.
2. Cooking liquid = ...I still don't understand.
3. Onions do make you cry.

I first had this soup in grade 9. That was the year I had surgery to remove my tonsils.
If you've ever had your tonsils removed then maybe you know what trying to find proper food is like. It is hard. For the first week, I ate nothing but ice cream, popsicles, pudding and yogurt. By the second week I was starting to look like a skeleton and I had forgotten what real food tasted like. So my grandpa and grandma, being the sweetest people you could ever imagine, brought me soup. What made this soup so special though, was the fact that its main ingredient, was my favourite ingredient: potatoes!

Naturally, I thought of this recipe for my blog. I had not eaten the soup since the time when I was a starving child so I wanted to see if it really was as good as my memory believes it was.

I don't have a link for this recipe because it has been given to me by my grandma. Aren't those always the best recipes?

3 medium potatoes
2 cups water
1 small onion
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp. Flour
Ground black pepper
3 cups milk
½ tsp. sugar
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed cooked ham

The Process

1. First, I had to peel the potatoes and cut them up into cubes. Once completed, I filled a pan with water and boiled the potatoes for about 15 minutes (until they were tender). I then drained the water and set put the potatoes aside.

2. It was at this point where I called my grandma a dozen times. In my defense, her directions were not nearly as clear as they should have been. I was told to measure 1 cup of cooking liquid, adding water if necessary. What does that mean? Well, it means to get a cup of water and find some way to flavour it. Perhaps with a cube of chicken flavouring, a chunk from a soup mix or anything that has taste really. What?? For someone like myself, who has never cooked and doesn't generally like the taste of food, being told that I need cup of water mixed with something with taste, is like being told to calculate the triple integral relating to the volume of a square--I just don't understand. The answer is \begin{align*} \int_0^1 \int_0^x \int_0^{1+x+y} f(x,y,z) dz \, dy\, dx \end{align*}, by the way.
Furthermore, the directions said to add water, if necessary. Add water to a cup of flavoured water? Sure...
Eventually, I scrounged the cupboards and found a cube of something. I decided that was good enough and dropped it into a cup of water.

3. Next, I peeled and finely chopped an onion.Onions make you cry. I did not know that was a true fact. Imagine my astonishment when my eyes began burning and exploding with tears. It did not help that I don't know how to chop things and so it took me a while to cut up an entire onion. 
I hope my family liked the taste of my tears.
When that drama finally came to an end, I melted butter in a sauce pan and added the onion.

4. As the onion became translucent and tender, I added the flour and pepper. I let this cook for about 4 minutes and then started to add the potatoes, cooking liquid and sugar to the onion mixture.

5. Since this is a soup, I had to mash the cubed potatoes to create a smooth mixture. I then added the cheese and ham that I had so efficiently shredded and cut.

6. While examining the soup, I made the executive decision to add more water. The recipe apparently calls for 2 cups of water but, the directions only mentioned 1 cup. So, I figured it couldn't hurt.

7. Finally, the soup was left to simmer for 30 minutes while I stirred it frequently.

Voila! The soup ended up being just as delicious as I had remembered--despite how it looks! I think I truly am learning! 


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