Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

I was not feeling well a few days before my birthday. Post-tension maybe or because I got so busy with a lot of things. All I wanted was to lay in bed and sleep...and well, read a feel-good book or play some word search. 

Feeling sick always brings me back to a time when I was hospitalized when I was about 6 years old. Yep, I can still clearly remember. I was confined in Lungsod ng Kabataan (Philippine Children's Medical Center) and was fed with potato soup. While as a kid, I was already a 'Pro' in digesting bland hospital food - but that potato soup was different! It was hearty, creamy and comforting just as how I want my potato soup to be. 

It was the start of my love affair with the potato soup. Funny I even requested my mom to ask for additional ration of that potato soup. I think I got 3 extra portions. The nurses happily obliged as I was not eating well for the past days that time. Oh well, too much for childhood memories. =)

So now, I am always feeling giddy when I think about potato soup. All this time, M thinks my favorite soup is either the mushroom soup or the clam chowder soup (both creamy in texture) but I feel it is really the potato soup. hahaha! I learned a potato soup recipe since I was young and have been cooking it ever since.

I made myself some potato soup as my pick-upper. I got a rush of soothing feeling inside. ^v^

:: :: ::

Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup

10pcs medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2cm cubes
3pcs onions, diced
water for boiling
1 1/2cup chicken stock (or simply 1 1/2cup water, but add 2pcs of chicken bouillion cube)
mint leaves wrapped in a gauze and tied
salt and pepper to taste
2T butter
1cup diced ham (I used the sweet ham squares)
2cups milk (sometimes, I use Cowhead, other times I use the canned evaporated milk), add more if you want
2cups grated cheddar cheese
vegetables like: diced carrots, green peas, celery ***optional
mint or parsley leaf as garnish ***optional

How I did It:
I combined the potatoes and onions in a stockpot and added water just enough to cover the potatoes and boiled it until the potatoes are tender. I add water so it won't dry up too much during the boiling process. I then added the chicken stock (or just the bouillion cubes), salt, pepper and vegetables. I then let the tied gauze with the mint leaves inside hang in my pot just like when we steep our tea. I do that for about 3-5minutes until the minty flavor is incorporated, then I take it out.
On a separate pan, I melted the butter then sauteed the diced ham. I slowly added the milk, stirring while I do. I added the cheese next then slowly bring it to a simmer.
I then poured the milk mixture over the pot of potatoes and mixed until well incorporated.
I topped it with parsley leaves for aesthetics. =)

:: :: ::
*There is a tendency that some potatoes at the bottom of the pot to burn so make sure you stir it as often as you could.
*I don't want a flour-y taste in my soup so I refrained from using flour in this recipe, the potatoes are aplenty enough to make the soup thick.
*Sometimes, I don't cut the potatoes in cubes anymore. I just use an immersion blender (a.k.a. stick blender) and mix everything in the pot once the vegetables are tender. Quickie and easy.

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