Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ham and Broccoli Cheese Soup

 Brrrrrrrrr!!! It is COLD outside!!! We are having the coldest temperatures in 20 years today and all I can think about is keeping warm.  I saved my ham bone from our Christmas ham in the freezer so this soup was a perfect way to warm ourselves from the inside out. I made the ham stock a few days ago so the soup only took about 30 minutes to make. It's also good to make the stock a few days ahead and refrigerate so you can de-fat the stock easily.  This soup was creamy, chock full of great hearty vegetables and totally comforting.  If you don't have a ham bone to make this stock or do not eat ham, you can substitute chicken stock with chicken or chicken stock with diced ham.   I see this hearty soup in many variations in my soup pot throughout this cold.. cold winter.

7-8 cups prepared ham stock (see instructions below) **see note if you do not have ham stock
1 medium onion chopped
2 carrots finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery finely diced (about 1 cup)
2-3 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 tsp dried thyme
red chili flakes to taste
1 tsp grated garlic
salt and black pepper to taste
1 (15oz) can Evaporated Milk (NOT condensed milk)
4 slices American cheese (melts the best into the soup)  

Note: If you do not have ham stock, substitute with chicken stock and 2 cups diced up thickly cut ham. 

Make the Ham stock:  Boil the ham bone with one medium onion cut into two and a a stalk of celery.  Boil on high for 30 minutes then reduce to medium and boil for 1 1/2 hours.   Allow stock to cool. Discard vegetables. and strain stock. Pull off all meat from ham bone. Put into a container and let it sit overnight up to two days in the fridge. Skim off any congealed fat off the top of stock before using.

To make soup: Chop celery, carrots, onion and broccoli 
Saute the celery, onion and carrot in 1 Tbs canola oil.  Once they start to soften, saute garlic, thyme and red chili flakes.  Next add the chopped broccoli and saute for 1-2 minutes.

Next add prepared ham stock with ham.  Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
Finally add one can of Evaporated Milk and cheese.Simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot. Enjoy.

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