What to do with left over ham? Ham and potato soup! The sweetness and smokiness of a ham adds delicious flavor to soups.
Use a large heavy-gauged pot for this recipe. Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the carrots, celery and onion. Saute for several minutes or until the veggies begin to sweat. Reduce the heat as necessary to avoid over browning.
Add the flour and continue to stir. This creates a roue. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the chicken broth and stir. Turn up the heat a little and add the water, potatoes and garlic. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, a dash or cayenne pepper and the fresh thyme.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cooked ham. Once the potatoes have softened, taste and adjust the seasoning per your taste. Turn off the heat and add in the cream. Stir and serve hot.
Heavy cream or half-n-half cream is optional but does add depth of flavor and richness to the soup.
If you don't have fresh thyme, you may use dried thyme for this recipe. Substitute 1 tsp of dried thyme.