The original recipe for this soup came from a community cookbook from the area of Alberta where Dave and I owned our acreage from 1996 to 2000. I also lived in that same community for 5 years when I was growing up. At the time, my Mom managed a small country store called Autumn Leaf that was located on Hwy 41 half way between Vermilion and Wainwright, Alberta. (We lived in quarters attached to and over top of the store.)
The picture on the front cover of the cookbook is a drawing of the small church that was across the road from the store. The church is still there today. The store closed in the late 70s and was converted to a home.
You see where the directions say to use 6 or 8 fist-sized potatoes. Dave, ever the comedian, asked whether that meant his fist size or mine.
I told him that since is was usually women doing the cooking on the farm, Mrs. Cleland meant a women’s fist size.
I’ve updated the directions and made a couple of changes to the recipe to suit our tastes. And in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I also changed the name.
Luck of the Irish Potato Soup
10 to 12 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (or enough to fill a large 6 qt pot about 1/2 full)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp of dried parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 c chopped ham
1 c milk (more if the soup is thicker than you like)
Place the potatoes, onion, celery, parsley and salt into the pot. Fill the pot with water until the water is about 1 inch over the potatoes. Cook on medium high for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Remove from heat. Do NOT drain. Mash the potatoes in the water. If you have an immersion blender, you could use that instead. If not, transfer the mashed mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. I had to do this in two batches. I filled the blender with soup, blended, transferred that to a large bowl, then filled the blender again and then poured the soup back into the pot.
Return the soup to the stove. Add the ham and cook for an additional 15 minutes or so on low so that the ham has a chance to add its flavor to the soup. Just before serving, add milk until the soup is the thickness you prefer. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a slice of bread or a biscuit. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Notes: This soup can easily be adjusted to feed a larger family simply by adding more potatoes to the pot. It could also be adjusted down by using fewer potatoes in a smaller pot. Just remember to fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and other ingredients with about 1 inch of water.
The last time I made this soup, I had a couple of heads of broccoli in the fridge so I cut up one and added that to the soup. It gave the soup an added layer of flavor that we really liked.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!