1/4 cup butter
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TB cornstarch
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
3 cups chicken broth
12 oz beer*, (IPA's work well, but you can experiment with your beer flavor preference)
4 medium russet potatoes, (peel and chop 2, set the other 2 aside)
12 oz ham, cubed
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small head broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces**
salt and pepper to taste
*If you are gluten free you can use a gluten free beer, or sub with more chicken broth
**I added the broccoli because I felt it needed some more color. My kids LOVE broccoli so it wasn't an issue but it can be an overpowering flavor. The soup is fantastic without it too. Peas would be a great milder alternative if you like.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion. Cook 4-5 minutes until the onion is tender and translucent.
Whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk and add it to the pot along with the broth and beer. Stir well.
Bring to a boil, add the first 2 peeled and chopped potatoes.
Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Run an immersion blender through the mixture or you can work in batches in a regular blender(careful its HOT!!!) until it is smooth. (You can hand mash if you like, it just may not be as smooth)
Peel and chop the remaining potatoes into bite sized pieces
Add cheese to the pot and stir until fully melted, then add ham, potatoes and broccoli.
Add salt and pepper as desired. Simmer 15-20 minutes more until the potatoes and broccoli is tender. You can adjust the thickness with more chicken broth if you like.