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Friday, October 11, 2013

Creamy Crock Pot Potato and Ham Soup

For day 11 of Soup Month 2013, we pulled out the crock pot to make this Creamy Potato and Ham Soup.  There's just something so warm and comforting about potato soup.  The texture and creaminess of the soup just makes you relax and say Mmmmm while you enjoy every bite.  As a bonus, having all of the cooking done in a crock pot makes dinner even more enjoyable.

The ham is center stage in this soup adding a great layer of flavor and texture.  Before being added to the crock pot, the ham is lightly browned in a skillet with onion and a touch of butter to give each piece a lightly glazed flavor.

The potatoes and onions are shredded before being added to the crock pot, which allows them to gradually dissolve into the soup as they cook down.  The end result is a creamy potato texture, but with little bits of potato still visible in the soup.  Although you could puree the soup for a completely smooth consistency, I really enjoyed the little potato bits along with the ham.

Fresh spinach adds a little extra color and nutrients and creamy low-fat ricotta cheese adds a rich flavor without making the soup too heavy.  A sprinkle of fresh chives on top is all this soup needs before serving.  Enjoy!!

1 lb  Ham, diced
2 TB  Butter
1 medium  Onion, very thinly sliced
5 medium  Russet Potatoes, finely shredded (a food processor works great)
32 oz  Chicken Broth
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp  White Pepper
2 cups  Fresh Spinach, washed and stems removed
1/2 cup  Half and Half
8 oz  Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
Minced Chives for Garnish

In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, add the ham and butter, and sauté for 4 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.  Add the onions to the skillet and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a crock pot.

Add the shredded potatoes, broth, salt and white pepper to the crock, cover and heat on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 7 hours.  Stir once halfway through the cooking time to break up the potatoes.

About 30 minutes before the soup is finished, add the spinach to the pot and stir.  Cook for 15 minutes, then add the half and half and ricotta to the pot.  Stir until the cheese is fully blended into the soup, cover and cook for the final 15 minutes.  Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of fresh chives.

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