Thursday, October 11, 2007

Zucchini, Potato and Ham Soup

I'm back! I'm back and in a new place. A new, old place actually. I have moved back to Chicago. I spent the last two weeks driving up here and getting unpacked. Now I have my cookbooks all up on the shelf and all of my cooking utensils unpacked - so I'm ready to go! It's been about 6 months since I've been actively cooking. So much has gone on in my life. But now I am home and I have people to cook for so I am so excited! Tonight was my first night in the kitchen after a long time - and it was a new kitchen to boot. But, I have a Whole Foods right down the street from me and I am in Heaven.

I knew I wanted to cook tonight but I have not gone through my cookbooks to pick out something special yet. I turned to the October issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine and flipped to the "7 days, 7 dinners" section and picked something out. I chose the Zucchini, Potato and Ham Soup because it seemed quick and tasty. And I wanted to make sure I got in an entry for The Doubly Delicious Two Year Celebration of Weekend Herb Blogging. It just cooled off here in Chicago so soup was the perfect thing for me to prepare.

This soup feature fresh dill. I LOVE the smell of Dill. I haven't found it to be an very versatile herb because if something contains dill you usually know it distinctly. However zucchini is one of the most versatile ingredients out there. Use it raw in salads, roast it up, puree it to make bread . . . the possibilities are endless! And according to the entry in Wikipedia, "In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the Zucchini to be the Britain's 10th favorite culinary vegetable." I'm not surprised at all!

This Zucchini, Potato and Ham Soup is super easy to make. The hardest part was peeling the potatoes - I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes and zucchini and a chopper for the onions. My mom and I had it for dinner tonight with nothing else but the suggested Pumpernickel bread and a glass of Syrah. My mother is a much more cautious cook than I am. She'll try anything at a restaurant but she tends to prepare old standards of meat and potatoes at home. The first thing she told me when she saw me cooking tonight was that she usually doesn't like creamed soups (but she'll try whatever I make). I explained to her that this soup doesn't have any cream in it and that it is very healthy. She watched me break out the immersion blender and was impressed with the results. She commented at least five times how much she liked this soup. I thought it was a tasty and healthy dinner to enjoy on a cool night. Perfect for fall.

Zucchini, Potato and Ham Soup
1 tablespoon butter
2 onions, chopped
2 large yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon gold (about 1 pound total), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 zucchini (about 1 pound total), sliced 1/4 inch thick
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
Two 1/4-inch-thick slices cooked ham (about 8 ounces), finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
Pinch nutmeg
Pumpernickel bread, for serving
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add the potatoes and zucchini and season with salt. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil; cover, lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a blender, partially puree the soup, leaving some chunks. Stir in the ham, dill and nutmeg and serve with the bread.

Check out the round-up for the The Doubly Delicious Two Year Celebration of Weekend Herb Blogging by the gal who started it all at Kalyn's Kitchen.


Kalyn said...

Rachel, this sounds fantastic. I'm imagining the flavors of zucchini, potato, and ham, with just a touch of dill. Thanks for helping us celebrate the two year anniversary, and nice to see you blogging again.

Mommy Chef said...

Looks good Rachel.I was wondering where you were! It is cool enough now that I am trying to make more soup meals during the day.This one has been saved! Thanks

Deborah said...

I actually picked up this issue of Racheal Ray and wanted to make all of the 7 days 7 dinners! It's good to hear that you enjoyed this soup. I will be trying it out!

Claire said...

Chicago, huh? Please tell me you go for the Cubs! This soups sounds pretty good.

Sara said...

The soups sounds great! Glad to hear you and your cookbooks are all settled in.

Michael Tosatto said...

Glad to see you back!!