Monday, October 25, 2010

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

As the leaves begin to change and the temperatures fall, it starts to feel like soup season to me. I had an extra large bag of potatoes that I wanted to find a use for and craved something warm. So I searched for the perfect potato soup recipe. The Girl Who Ate Everything posted a delicious looking Creamy Ham and Potato Soup a few weeks ago and I thought I would give it a try. As originally posted, this soup provides:

600 calories

26.5 g fat

1196 mg sodium

72.5 g carbohydrate

7.6 grams fiber

20.2 grams protein

When people think of making healthy changes, they often limit their scope of “healthy” to calories, fat grams or carbohydrates. But healthy changes can come in a variety of forms. Soups especially tend to be very high in sodium. The average American only needs 2,400 mg of sodium each day but many Americans consume 8,000-10,000 mg or more each day. Eating too much sodium (or salt) can contribute to elevated blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and just plain old fluid retention.

In this recipe, I changed the chicken broth to low sodium chicken broth, omitted the ½ tsp salt and switched out the diced ham for Boar’s Head brand reduced sodium ham. With those changes, I was able to cut the sodium nearly in half. I also only used 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of flour to make the roux and it was perfectly thick enough.

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup - BETTER

3 ½ cups peeled and diced potatoes

1/3 cup diced celery

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

½ cup carrot, diced

1 cup diced low sodium cooked ham (such as Boar’s Head)

3 ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth

1 tsp ground white or black pepper, or to taste

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp all purpose flour

2 cups skim milk

Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, carrot, ham and chicken broth in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk so that lumps don’t form and 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 stockpot and cook soup until heated through.

Top with cheddar cheese, chives and bacon if desired. Serve immediately.

(Reheats well for lunch the next day, too!)

Makes 6 servings

Per serving:

317 calories

8.6 grams fat

606 mg sodium

46.2 grams carbohydrate

4.9 grams fiber

14.7 grams protein

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