Ham, Delicata Squash and Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 delicata squash, cubed (you can leave the skin on!)
1 (loose) cup green beans (about 1/3 lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
3 green onions, chopped
2 cups ham, cubed
8 oz cooked wild rice*
64 oz chicken or ham stock
2 bay leaves
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onion, garlic, carrots, squash and green beans until the onion is translucent. Add the ham and saute until slightly browned, if desired. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all is tender and cooked through.
Remove bay leaves.

Serve immediately.

Yield: about 5 servings

*You can make this yourself but I used a packet of microwaveable wild rice from Target (store brand) and added it to the pot directly from the package without heating it up.

My thoughts:
We don’t always have ham on Christmas (this year my parents are making corned beef and cabbage?) but ham is always a great deal this time of year so I normally end up buying at least one small one. I bought a tiny boneless spiral sliced ham from Aldi that was tasty but it wasn’t cut all the way through! Very odd. I ended up having to sort of cut around the middle to make small slices (I could have just completed the cuts but I really didn’t need giant slices) and it left a big chunk of barely cut ham in the middle. Perfect for soup! 
This soup is perfect for using up odds and ends so feel free to tweak it. I had delicata squash, which doesn’t need to be peeled but butternut would work too if you peel it. Parsnips would be good in place of all or one of the carrots and I really wanted to use celery but mine went mysteriously moldy overnight. I’ve been trying to use green onions (scallions) more like vegetables lately so I cut them into about 1/2 inch pieces rather than finely. The packet of wild rice I mention in the note above is really a game-changer when it comes to wild rice. It isn’t 100% as good as when I make it myself but it is super quick and honestly, I don’t think most people could tell the difference. I just add it directly from the pouch to soups like this or I heat in a pan in a little water before adding it to other dishes. Wild rice adds such a savory, nutty flavor to dishes that I love and goes great with other strong flavors like smoky ham and squash.

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