|Cheddar Ham Soup|
Before I proceed, I have a confession. If you're a regular reader here, you know that one theme consistent throughout this website is me taking myself out of my comfort zone in an effort to learn something. Well, when I announced that I'd dedicate September to desserts, I never felt so out of place. A contributing factor in the number of dishes I produced is insufficient planning on my part, so I must apologize. Now that I have an ice cream machine, I'll publish one as I see fit.
Last week Mrs. Stuntman purchased a ham for our family that was rather large so I have been looking at recipes for leftovers, which is how this dish came about. I might equate this to a challenge on Chopped in trying to piece together a dish from odd ingredients. I like this dish from a conceptual standpoint because it's a creative way to use a Mornay sauce which is a derivative of a béchamel sauce. You might recognize a Mornay because it's a component of a Hot Brown sandwich and a macaroni and cheese.
Re-purpose leftover food
I used a recipe from Taste of Home's website.
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups water
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% low-fat milk
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups (approximately 8 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
1 tablespoon saltine crackers (for garnish)
1. Prepare the base: combine potatoes, water, onions, and carrots in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Prepare the Mornay and finish the dish: While the vegetables are simmering, melt butter in a second saucepan. Create a roux by stirring in the flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add the milk then season with salt and pepper. Bring the béchamel to a boil and stir until thickened, approximately 2 minutes. Add the cheese and stir to melt. Add the Mornay to the undrained vegetables and then add the ham and peas. Serve immediately in warmed bowls, garnished with crackers and parsley.
This dish would be perfect for a cold winter evening because it was a little rich, but the sweetness of the carrots balanced the saltiness of the ham well. I classified this dish a Light Stunt (appropriate for a weeknight) because I was able to finish cooking the dish in about 20 minutes, but please keep in mind that the mise en place is a little labor intensive.