Comfort food is probably the first thing you’ll think of to cook on a cold, rainy day. It’s also a good idea to make something that has some staying power to be reheated.
Topping the list for most people is some kind of soup. We’re not talking a delicate broth, but something with some weight, butter and potatoes. During a recent cold snap, we in The Bachelor’s Kitchen turned to a trusted recipe for ham and potato soup. This hearty dish tastes wonderful and is very filling.
Another good choice is chili. There are hundreds of recipes in addition to ours. Chili goes with almost anything or is great by itself, with or without crackers. We like a good pot of chili on a regular basis all year ‘round.
In less than an hour you can be enjoying this great winter soup. It’s especially useful if you have leftover ham. In addition to the standard recipe, we add carrots and half an onion to add some depth of flavor and richness.
We started with about five large potatoes, peeled and cut into half-inch dice. We cut up five medium carrots the same way. Two stalks of celery were chopped into smaller pieces. Half an onion was chopped finely. About a cup of leftover ham slices was cut into bite size pieces. Add all that into a stockpot along with 2 cups of chicken broth and 1-1/2 cups of water, or you can use 3-1/2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of chicken bouillon or chicken soup starter. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and taste for whether more salt is needed.
In a separate saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Don’t be afraid of butter. The taste cannot be duplicated. Whisk in 5 tablespoons of flour and stir to keep the roux smooth. Cook until it turns a nice blond color and starts to get thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Slowly pour in 2 cups of milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the milk mixture to the stockpot and stir to mix well. Heat until everything is heated through and serve.
You could easily add other ingredients, like corn or broccoli. You could use bacon or chopped pork instead of or in addition to ham.
Whatever you decide to do, use your enforced confinement during a winter storm to do some great cooking.