This is one of my favorite cold weather recipes. It’s so warm and hearty and comforting for a cold night. My mom used to make this for us all the time when I was younger and I remember craaaving it. Here is my version of it... tried to make the recipe a little lighter than most thick & creamy soup, but of course, without sacrificing any goodness.
Prep time: 20 minutes Total time: 50 minutes
1 ham steak (diced)
4 Yukon gold potatoes
1 head celery
6 whole carrots
1 can corn (drained)
1 T butter (I use smart balance)
2 bunches fresh thyme
3 bay leaves (optional)
2 boxes chicken broth (I use low sodium)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 pckg lite cream cheese
1 T honey
A couple of notes on ingredients:
I use smart balance because it’s soy free, dairy free, and vegan. Just my choice but regular butter is cool too.
I use the light cream cheese because it’s low in calories and makes stuff super creamy. This is an awesome trick for soups and stews.
I use low sodium broth always because I like to adjust the salt content myself.
Onions: my husband doesn’t eat them, so I don’t put them in but if you like them, add ½ diced onion when you add the carrots and celery!
On to the instructions:
1. Wash and peel the carrots. Dice into bite sized pieces. Then dice the celery into about the same sized pieces as the carrots. Set aside. At this time, also pull the cream cheese out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature.
2. Wash and clean the potatoes. Sounds redundant, I know. What I mean is wash them, then remove any gross bits or eyes. Then dice them. If you are doing this before you are ready to use them, store in a water bath so they don’t turn brown.
3. Dice the ham steak into small cubes.
4. Heat the butter in large soup pot. Add ham and sauté till it starts to brown a little. About 2-3 min. Then add the potatoes and continue sautéing for another 2-3 min.
5. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and a pinch/dash of cayenne and stir. All seasonings depend on personal taste... if you like spicy, go heavy with the cayenne; if you like salty, add extra salt.
6. Add in the carrots, celery, onion (if desired), corn and honey. Pour in 2 boxes chicken broth.
7. Wash two bunches of fresh thyme and put it in. If you have bay leaves, throw a couple in. Pro-tip: When you add the thyme this way, some of the leaves will just naturally fall off into the soup, which is so much easier than trying to pick them off the stems. When the soup is done, just find the stems and remove. same with bay leaves.
8. Let it boil on medium high heat covered for about 20 minutes.
9. Dice the cream cheese and add it to the soup, stir well, and let boil for about 5 more minutes until it is well incorporated.
10. Taste to make sure you don’t need to adjust seasonings, then remove thyme and bay leaves. Serve and enjoy!!
If you have leftovers it should keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.