Big holiday meals generally mean the fridge is crammed with leftovers for a week. As I was cleaning up the kitchen after our Easter dinner last Sunday, I asked my husband if there was anything he was craving for me to make with the leftover ham. His response: ham and barley soup.
With that as an inspiration when I opened the fridge door and also perused the pantry to assess what else I could use up that would make a yummy soup. Here's what I came up with....
1 large onion, fine dice
3 large carrots, fine dice
3-4 celery stalks, fine dice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons butter
Add to a large soup pot and sauté for 5-7 minutes.
1 ham bone
1 cup ham juices (gelatinized), discarding any fat (or chicken broth if you don't have any reserved juices)
1 32 oz container of low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon herb de Provence
1/3 cup pearl barley
Add ham bone and juices and container of chicken broth along with seasonings. Bring to a boil. Add pearl barley and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until pearl barley softens about 30 to 45 minutes.
3 cups cooked potatoes
1 cup half and half
4 tablespoons butter
In a sauté pan, heat potatoes, butter and cream until butter melts and the mixture is warm throughout. Puree with a hand blender until smooth.
Remove ham bone from the soup pot along with bay leaves. Add the potatoes to the soup broth and stir until combined.
Add ham chunks to the soup and stir to combine and simmer until ham is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve topped with green onions and shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. Or, top with French fried onions.
You can easily freeze what you don't need right away. If you freeze in individual size portions, you can just pull out what you need when you need a speedy supper another week.
When you reheat the soup, you likely need to add more chicken broth to thin the soup back out bit.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe that helps clean out the fridge after Easter or any other time you are in the mood for a creamy, heart warming soup.