We’re experiencing some pretty strange weather around here this week, but what corner of the US isn’t right now? (Ok maybe not you, Phoenix AZ with your 60 degrees and sunshine; I want to be you.) In our 33 years of living in Idaho we’ve not had this much snow on the ground, on our roofs and on our ski resorts, so hallelujah for great spring run-off and water pack. But it’s wreaking plenty of havoc: busted pipes, terrible roads, school closures going on five days now. Even church was canceled last Sunday! Now that’s a phenomenon.
Well needless to say it’s great weather for hunkering down, slipping into comfy clothes and eating big bowls of savory soup. And sometimes making soup is a lovely creative process because when you have a big bag of sweet potatoes and leftover ham, you’ve got to find a home for both. Why not combine them together in one big pot and layer them with sturdy vegetables, savory beans, hearty corn and fragrant herbs? Sweet potatoes are just about as nutritious as a vegetable can be with all that vitamin A and C for fighting colds during damp wintry weather. And because they get pretty soft I mash a few against the side of the soup pot to thicken the soup creating the perfect texture.
And who doesn’t love ham AND bacon. Ok, this might be a little over kill with the pork products, but I couldn’t resist adding the bacon layer of pork goodness to the pot. It adds more smokiness creating true home-style warmth and flavor. And don’t skimp on the herbs because the soup doesn’t taste the same without them. Herbs often take a day or two to really blend in with the soup so make more for later for a real flavor blitz.
Bundle up my friends; it’s cold out there. And when you come back inside, this soup will be waitin’ for ya.
- Sweet Potato, White Bean and Ham Soup
- 1/2 pound center-cut bacon
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 6-8 cups ham or chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon ham or chicken base)
- 2 cups cooked ham, diced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
- Chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
- Add bacon to a large soup pot placed over medium-high heat and cook until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, let drain on a paper towel, then crumble; set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp bacon fat in soup pot and discard the rest. Add butter to the soup pot and allow to melt. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until vegetables are soft. Add garlic and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add flour and stir with a whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Slowly add ham or chicken broth using a whisk to combine. Add ham, bacon, sweet potatoes, herbs and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
- Add corn and stir to combine. Mash a few of the sweet potatoes against the side of the soup pot to thicken the soup as desired. Adjust seasonings with sea salt and freshly ground pepper as desired. Serve with chopped fresh parsley.
You might also enjoy: