One whole leek, finely chopped, dark green top removed.
Four ounces of mushrooms, sliced thin.
If you want to use pre-sliced be my guest (go wild and get baby bellas if you want), but I find pre-sliced to be bruised up and weird-tasting. I like buying them whole so that I can pick out a container full of caps that are still tight, like this one.
Five or six large turnip green leaves, or seven to ten small leaves, depending on size, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Larger will have a stronger flavor but will need to cook longer due to toughness, smaller will be more tender but you will need more to get the same flavor intensity.
About a pound of ham, cut into bite-sized pieces. Try to get a bone. (Sometimes you can find ‘ham seasoning’ cut into chunks).
Half a pound of slab bacon, cut into very small pieces.
This one’s optional, you can use ham, bacon, or both.
Potatoes- not just any potatoes. Gold potatoes. Butter gold, Yukon gold, any variety with a bright pale skin and a crisp, canary yellow flesh. At least three pounds, quartered if large, halved if small enough.
Sauté leek and mushrooms with one teaspoon of minced garlic and your choice of butter, olive oil, or both. I used two tablespoons of butter, three of olive oil, and one of canola. The minimum time is when the leeks turn clear, but if you’re like me and hate the flavor of raw mushroom, keep going until the mushrooms get soft and shiny and lose their fresh earth smell.
Now add a little water to stop the sauté process and gets little steam and simmer going, and dump in your bite-sized greens. You can use Chardonnay or another white wine instead if you wish, but add water after because you’ll need steam for the greens.
Once the greens have turned a brighter shade and started to wilt, stir them in and add 6 cups of hot water. Turn the heat to high to get a rolling boil.
Add the ham and boil for three minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer, and sprinkle in some black pepper and salt. I prefer sea salt for cooking, and I only use a small amount, just enough to augment the cooking process. Everyone that eats it has to add a lot of salt, because I can’t have much sodium- one of the drawbacks of prednisone therapy.
Add in the bacon now if you are using it, add potatoes (you didn’t forget potatoes did you?), six cups of hot water, and bring back to a rolling boil. Hold at a boil for five minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
I’m sure by now you’ve noticed the glaring lack of seasonings and spices. This is intentional, as right now Hubs and the Spawnling are sick. However, between the ham, bacon, greens, garlic, and gold potatoes, this is anything but bland.
Simmer covered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or, if you’re impatient, keep it at a boil with no cover, stirring often. If you opt for this route, you’ll need to add in extra water every bow and then as it evaporates off. You want the potatoes to fall apart and become the broth. This isn’t a chunky stew, this is a thick potato soup with chunks of meat and bites of mushroom and greens. I help the potatoes along, and break them up against the sides on the pot as they cook.
Optional ingredient- half a cup of whole milk, heavy cream, half & half, plain yogurt, or, my personal favorite, canned evaporated milk. The one you use is your call, honestly. Soy, almond, or some other non-dairy milk would work as well, but make sure it’s unsweetened and on the thick side. Rice milk would be too thin, and coconut milk would probably taste odd. Personally, I’d use almond if dairy isn’t an option. I usually don’t add anything though, I find it tastes perfect on its own. You could also have some yogurt or sour cream on the side so that people could add a dollop to their bowl.
This time I used whole milk (no evaporated milk in the pantry right now) at Hubs’ request.