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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Twelfth Night and a pot of soup

Tonight is Twelfth Night--some marked it last night on the eve of Epiphany, but my family has always celebrated it on January 6, as the night the magi arrived at the Bethlehem stable with their gifts. We each, from youngest to oldest, take a turn throwing a tiny branch of the tree into the fire and making a wish for the coming year.  You must NOT share your wish with anyone.
I've learned lately it is British custom to bake a bean and a pea into a cake; whoever gets the bean is king and whoever gets the pea is queen. If a woman gets the bean, she chooses her own king. Wonder what happens if a man gets the pea? Another part of the tradition involves pranks and chaos, but I'm not telling my family that.
There will be eight of us tonight, and I considered a roast and all kinds of things--and finally decided on a hearty soup that will use the New Year's ham. Of course, Texas weather has called for soup all week--until today. It is sunny and gorgeous, predicted to go into the high fifties. No matter the weather, we're having soup and salad--and a fire in the fireplace. Tomorrow all the Christmas decorations come down.

Here's my version of potato/ham soup. I started with a recipe and went from there, adding about twice the amount of diced ham and 8 oz. Velveeta.

3-1/2 c. diced peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 c. diced celery
1/3 c.  chopped onion
chicken broth--about 3 cups or more for consistency you want
1/2 tsp. salt (Iused an herbal salt substitute)
1 tsp. white pepper
2 c. diced ham
5 Tbsp. butter
5 Tbsp. flour
8 ox. Velveeta original

Cook potatoes, onion, and celery in broth until potato is tender. Add salt and pepper and ham.

Separately, melt butter and whisk in flour. Slowly stir in milk to make a white sauce. Stir into potato/ham mixture, along with diced Velveeta. Serve immediately when cheese melts.

Should serve eight easily.

PS. Soup was delicious. Hearty, warm and good. Wanted to post picture but Blogger has changed something and I can't figure out how to post pictures.

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