Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Irish Potato and Cabbage Soup with Diced Ham

This soup is a take-off on one of my favorite Irish dishes, colcannon.  The braised cabbage gives the soup a slightly sweet flavor.

I'll make no apology for my use of bacon drippings in this recipe!  "Everything in moderation," Mom used to say :)

6 medium russett potatoes, cut into quarters
1 large carrot, finely chopped, or shredded
1 small head of cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
1 small onion, chopped
two large leeks, white part only, finely chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings (can use butter or cooking oil)
1 small ham steak, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
32 oz vegetable broth (I like Trader Joe's Organic broth)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 - 2 cups milk or half and half

In a dutch oven or soup pot, combine potatoes, carrot, and vegetable broth.  Add a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes begin to degrade.

Meanwhile, melt bacon drippings in large skillet.  Add cabbage, onion and leeks.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly with drippings.  Saute until cabbage takes on a golden hue.  Cover, reduce heat and braise until completely tender, about ten minutes. Add ham, toss, and continue to braise on lowest heat while potatoes cook.

When potatoes begin to degrade, remove from heat.  Puree lightly, in batches with cooking liquid, inside a food processor.  Return puree to pot, add 2 tablespoons butter, and the cabbage mixture.  Mix well.  The soup should be very thick.  Thin to the consistency you like, with milk or half and half.  Season with salt and pepper.

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