This is a fantastic base recipe. For those of you complaining about it being too thin, try this:
Double all your solid ingredients then round them up to the next cup (2 cups ham, 7 cups potatos, 1 cup celery, and 1 cup onions) and use 6 cups of water, but leave everything else the same. When you add the roux (butter+flour+milk), also add 2 cups of shredded cheese (I use a mix of mozzarella and a mexican blend). Additionally, continue to cook the soup while stirring occasionally on low for 15-20 minutes after adding the roux to remove the raw flavor the flour gives it. This will give you something much closer to a Ham & Potato Chowder, which is the consistency we like it.
I also chopped up and cooked a pound of bacon and added that to the other solid ingredients at the start, then used the bacon grease in the roux with the butter cut down to 3 TBSP instead of 5. I put in some rosemary and thyme, and added about 1 cup of chopped green onions when I added the roux. We ended up with a huge winner that I now have to cook in double batches and freeze regularly to keep up with requests for it. If you like the soup but want it thicker/slightly differently flavored, try this. It worked GREAT, and freezes very well.
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This is a fantastic base recipe. For those of you complaining about it being too thin, try...