This smoked ham hock (available in the meat department at the grocery store) soup is big on flavor, low on effort. Because all the ingredients sit in the slow cooker together, the potatoes soak up each element, especially the ham, so every bite is a full-flavored one. With chunky pieces of potato and chopped ham hock, this soup is a filling entrée option. The heartiness of a creamy soup like this is perfect for a comforting dinner throughout the season (or anytime of year, really!). We like to add a splash of hot sauce at the end to add a kick to this creamy soup. Serve with crusty bread, a salad, and hot sauce on the side for an easy meal both kids and adults will love. Fresh chopped chives give extra color with the hot sauce on top.
Place potatoes, ham hocks, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a 7-quart slow cooker; add broth, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH until potatoes are tender, 4 hours. Remove ham hocks, and place on a plate to cool 15 minutes.
Puree soup in slow cooker with an immersion blender until it’s creamy but whole pieces of potato are still visible. Add cream, and stir. Once ham hocks are cool enough to handle, remove all meat and chop; discard fat and bone. Add meat to soup, and stir to combine.
If you don’t own an immersion blender, transfer half of the hot soup to a regular blender. Remove the center piece on the blender’s lid to allow steam to escape. Secure lid on the blender, and cover opening with a towel; process until smooth. Return pureed potato soup to the slow cooker.