Depending on whether or not you like cold weather and snow, this has either been a great winter in Toronto or a terrible one. Personally, I’m not a big fan of winter. Bone-numbing temperatures and slippery sidewalks are something I’d gladly do without. So I’ve really been enjoying the mild weather over the past couple of months.
This week, a sudden drop in temperature and a snowfall meant that it felt like winter again. And with spring three months away, it’s time for me to start thinking about the things I do love about this time of year:
1. There’s nothing more beautiful than a fresh snowfall. Even if you’re the one who has to shovel it.
2. No pesky mosquitoes to swat away or sunscreen to get in your eyes.
3. Ezra Pound’s excellent parody of the 13th century poem “Sumer is icumen in”.
4. Cold weather is soup weather.
This potato, ham and cheddar soup was made for winter. It’s filling enough to be a meal on its own, and delicious enough to make you want seconds. And it will give you the energy you need for shovelling that driveway.
Potato, Cheddar and Ham Soup
(Adapted from: http://www.dairygoodness.ca/recipes/potato-cheddar-ham-soup-with-chive-yogurt)
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese , diced or shredded
1 cup cubed lean Black Forest ham
1/3 cup sour cream (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped chives (optional)
In the bottom of a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot, and stir until softened. Pour in chicken broth, water and bay leaves, and bring just to a gentle boil. Add potatoes and cover, cooking until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove and discard bay leaves. In a measuring cup, stir together flour and milk until no lumps remain, and add to soup. Cover and stir occasionally until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
Add cheese and ham, reduce heat and simmer until heated through (3 to 5 minutes).
If desired, combine sour cream and chives. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream mixture.