Do you have any family traditions you’d like to continue but want to tweak or update a bit? My mom and grandmother always made lentil soup for the New Year – there’s just something warm and comforting about a big bowl of soup to start off the year. I wanted to continue this ritual, but was never really a fan of lentil soup, so I decided to try a new recipe of my own. This soup will definitely be making an appearance in years to come – I think it may just be my best one yet! …there’s proof at the end of the recipe 😉
3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped baby carrots
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
1 cube of chicken bouillon
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste – depending on how salty your bouillon is.
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Dash of dried thyme
Combine the potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, ham and water in a dutch oven or large pot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour with a fork and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about a minute or so. Slowly stir in the milk so that lumps don’t form, until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the milk mixture into the veggie and ham mixture, and cook soup until heated through. After tasting, I decided the soup needed a bit more flavor and put in a dash or two of dried thyme – can’t really tell you exactly how much; just to your liking.
I served ours with shredded cheese on top, a big loaf of crusty french bread, and a plate of olive oil and herbs for dipping. Dan ate two bowls – now that’s saying something from a guy who doesn’t like soup!
Happy New Years! I’m so excited for what 2013 has in store for us.