This is probably the first real dish that I cooked in days. The bug I caught left me with very little appetite and when I don’t feel hungry, trust me when I say that anything I cook will reflect the way I feel. So, I didn’t even bother to make an attempt. We had a salad last Monday and, apart from that, it’s been mostly sandwiches and whatever we could pick up here and there — like the beef and pork dumplings from a Kowloon West outlet a few minutes from our house. Even that didn’t taste too good to me. My appetite still isn’t normal but I’ve recovered enough to want to eat something hot and home cooked.
Last night, we were at the grocery and I found a lot of vacuum-sealed ham on sale in the frozen section — as much as 50% off. That often happens after Christmas — hams that were unsold by New Year’s Eve are sold at a discount afterward. It’s even true for fruit cakes. Are they safe to eat? Oh, man, ham and fruit cakes have a very long shelf life. I bought a kilo of ham and decided it would be a good starting point to get about normalizing my cooking routine. It’s a lot of ham for one meal, I know. My plan is to make two to three different dishes with it — a soup, a salad or a pasta dish and a breakfast dish.
This chunky ham and mushroom soup was made with about a third of the ham. Speedy and I had it for lunch today with grilled cheese sandwiches.
Recipe: Chunky ham and mushroom soup
- 4 tbsps. of butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 300 g. of ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- about 100 g. of mushrooms (I used button but you can use whatever you prefer), quartered
- 2 tbsps. of flour
- 3 to 4 c. of broth, preferably homemade
- Melt 2 tbsps. of butter in a frying pan.
- Throw in the onion, carrot and celery. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for about a minute.
- Add the ham. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another minute.
- Add the mushrooms. Sprinkle lightly with more salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the mushrooms start to brown lightly. Take the pan off the heat.
- In a pot, melt the remaining 2 tbsps. of butter.
- Add the flour, all at once, stirring quickly.
- Cook the butter and flour gently, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for about five minutes.
- Pour in the broth in a thin stream (start with 3 cups only), stirring as you pour.
- If the mixture is too thick for you, you can add more broth (that’s why the ingredients list says 3 to 4 c. of broth).
- Depending on whether you’re using seasoned or unseasoned broth, you might want to add more salt and pepper at this point.
- Take the vegetables, ham and mushrooms and add to the thickened broth. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.
- It is possible that the soup will thicken some more after simmering. Check the texture — if too thick, add more broth. Taste once more and add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. I recommend serving it with grilled cheese sandwiches.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3