Creamy Potato and Celery Soup with Ham

Ingredients:

8 small russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1 medium sized onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

6 stalks celery, chopped

1 Tbs butter

2 Tbs flour

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup half-and-half (whole milk and cream)

1 cup smoked ham, chopped into ½” cubes

5 oz white cheddar cheese, grated

4 green onions, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the diced potatoes.   Boil the potatoes until cooked through and softened.  Strain the potatoes in a colander.

In a large pot over high heat, add olive oil, garlic and onions.  Cook and for a minute or two, until the onions are translucent.

Add the chopped celery stalks and cook for another 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of butter to 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix and mash together with a fork. Add a splash of broth and mix a little more. Add the mixture to the pan. Stir to combine.

Add the vegetable broth and chicken broth.  Stir and bring to boil.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Pour the soup into the blender and add the potatoes.  Puree until smooth.  This may need to be done in batches, depending on the capacity of the blender. Return the soup to the pot.

Add the half and half and the ham.  Heat at low temperature for a few minutes while stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat off and add the shredded cheese.  Slowly stir the soup once or twice.  Do not over-stir.  Allow the cheese to melt without much interference.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with diced scallions.

Hawaiian Pizza

I never order ham and pineapple pizza, when I go out for pizza, or when I order pizza for delivery.  It seems like such a silly thing.  I prefer a more classic pizza, I suppose.  But, when life gives you ham and pineapple, it’s time to make Hawaiian pizza.

This recipe uses the same pizza dough recipe that I have posted before.

The only thing new here is the topping.  Simply add sliced ham and diced pineapple and bake. 

Topping Ingredients:

1/3 cup marinara

6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup sliced ham

10 pepperoni slices

3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (red, orange and yellow)

Directions:

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown.

And for the naysayers, offer them a pepperoni pizza.

Happy New Year!

Scalloped Potatoes with Cold Cuts

I haven’t been making regular trips to the grocery store lately.  Time constraints mixed with a dash of laziness is a recipe for invention.  Despite the lack of grocery shopping, my pantry and refrigerator are still full of all sorts of odds and ends, which is a good thing. 

This meal came together quickly and it provided a warm, hearty end to a cold and dreary day.  This was made to serve three, but it could stretch to serve four.  The various cold cuts added to this dish turned simple scalloped potatoes into something special.

Ingredients:

3 large russet potatoes

3 cups cooking oil

6 oz cold cuts (capocollo, calabrese, pepper salami and cured ham)

1 tsp coarse salt

½ tsp whole black pepper

½ tsp Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

5 green onions

1 celery stalk

4 Tbs butter

4 Tbs flour

2 cups chicken stock

¼ cup heavy cream

Directions:

Peel the potatoes and slice them into ¼ discs. 

Fry the potatoes in the cooking oil.  Once the potatoes begin to turn golden brown, strain them and set aside.

While the potatoes cook, prepare the other ingredients.

Cut the cold cuts into ½” pieces.  Set aside.

Chop the celery and green onions.  Set aside.

Grind the salt, pepper and Cavender’s Greek seasoning in a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Using the same skillet that was used to fry the potatoes, turn the heat to low and add the butter.  When the butter melts, add the flour and whisk to form a roux.

When the roux begins to bubble and becomes frothy, add the seasonings.  Whisk.

Slowly introduce 1 cup of the chicken stock and whisk.  Add the cream and continue whisking.  As the sauce thickens, add the remaining cup of chicken stock.  Whisk until the sauce thickens again. 

Add the celery and green onions and stir to incorporate.

Add the cold cuts and stir.  Simmer for about 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Fold in the potatoes and simmer for a few minutes.

Scoop out portions to serving bowls.