My family loves this soup. They call it Dad's world famous potato soup. I wouldn't go that far, but it is pretty awesome. Make the potatoes a little different in size when you cut them up, it adds to the complexity of the soup.
Combine water, celery, carrots and half of the salt and pepper in a large soup kettle.
Heat on high heat to a boil then turn down heat to medium high and boil for 5 minutes.
Add potatoes and half of ham. When the kettle boils again it should take about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender on a low boil. Start checking at this time. You should just be able to put a fork into the potatoes with little resistance.
In a medium sauce pan add the butter, onions, left over salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat stirring the onions about every 2 minutes for about 10 minutes till soft. You can tell they are done when the bottom of the pan starts to brown a little.
Keep the pan on the heat and shake the flour over the onions. Now stir it into the onions for ½ minute. Pour in the milk and 3 cups of the potato water. Whisk it in till its well mixed, about ½ minute. It will be thick. Now add this and the rest of the ham to the potato’s when they are finished. Stir for about ½ minute till it’s well mixed.
Cook over med high heat stirring the bottom of the pan constantly until you reach a boil. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.
Remove 2 cups of the potato mixture and mash them with a little of the soup juice in the sauce pan. Add the mashed potatoes and the parsley to the kettle and check your seasonings. The mashed potatoes will thicken the soup some more and add more depth to it.
Serve with shredded cheese on top if you like and crusty bread. We like smoked cheese with ours.
If you have a ham bone boil it with 1 chop carrot, 1 chopped celery stalk and 1 chopped onion for 45 minutes in the gallon (plus 1 cup) water. Remove the bone to a plate to cool and strain the water before making the recipe. Add the ham bone meat when soup is finished.