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January 2016 Trail Bytes: Potato & Broccoli Soup
January 29, 2016

For our last backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail, I cooked Potato Leek Soup and Curry Carrot Soup in a Thermos Food Jar for a couple of our lunches. They were both delicious, but Dominique has asked me to include meat with our soup for a greater protein punch. One way that I will fix that will be to make beef jerky to serve with lunch. The other way will be to include meat in the soup. With that in mind, this week I made a very hearty pot of Potato Broccoli & Soup with Ham.

Makes 3 Large Servings


  • 2 lbs. Potatoes
  • 2 lbs. Broccoli (1½ - 2 bunches)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 7 + 1 Cups Chicken Broth or Water & 1½ Bouillon Cubes
  • ½ lb. Thin Sliced Ham
  • ½ tsp Salt, Pinch of Pepper


Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Add to soup pot with seven cups broth, plus salt and pepper.

Peel and discard toughest parts of broccoli skin. Chop broccoli, including stalks; hold back two cups of chopped broccoli and add the rest to the pot with potatoes.

Bring to boil and then simmer on low.

In a separate pan, lightly fry chopped onion and garlic. Three teaspoons of oil is sufficient. Add cooked onion and garlic to soup pot; continue simmering until potatoes and broccoli are soft. Turn off stove and allow soup to cool for a few minutes.

In a separate pot, steam the two cups of broccoli that you set aside for three minutes using one cup of broth. Let broccoli cool (set aside to dry separately) and add cooking water to soup pot.

Blend soup to a smoothie-like consistency with a regular blender or immersion blender.

Dehydrate Soup

Spread blended soup thinly on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets. If using an Excalibur Dehydrator, spread two cups of blended soup per tray. For this recipe, I used four trays for the blended soup.

On a separate tray or trays, dry steamed broccoli and sliced ham. I had to dry both on one tray. Since broccoli florets break apart a little when dried, I used a non-stick sheet so none would fall through the mesh sheets.

I dried the load at 135° F. The steamed broccoli and ham were dry after eight hours. The soup bark stayed in the dehydrator another four hours. After ten hours, the bark was dry enough to peel off the non-stick sheets and turn over on the mesh sheets without the non-stick sheets for the last two hours of drying time.

Cooking & Rehydrating Soup

1 Large Serving:

  • 1 Cup Soup Bark
  • ⅛ Cup Dried Broccoli
  • ⅛ Cup Dried Ham
  • 2½ Cups Water to Rehydrate

Pot Cooking: Add ingredients to pot with water and soak five minutes. Light stove and bring to boil for one minute. Turn off stove, put pot in insulating cozy for 15 – 20 minutes.

Thermos Food Jar Cooking: Add boiled water to ingredients in Thermos. Seal and enjoy later for lunch. I made this soup for lunch two days in a row. The dried broccoli pieces held up better when I added them to the Thermos a few minutes before I ate the soup. When I added them at the same time as the other ingredients, the broccoli pieces disintegrated into the soup.

This Potato & Broccoli Soup with Ham is thick and delicious. Top it with grated cheese and you will be very happy with your lunch. I will make it again for our spring backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.

It’s been a mostly mild winter so far in Switzerland. There was only one week in January with arctic temperatures and snow. We’re doing our best to stay in good condition for our spring hike… long walks around the lake, jogging in the forest, and yoga in the mornings. I hope you are thriving this winter.

BACKPACKER Magazine published my “Top 10 Dehydrating Tips” in their January issue. I hope to have a link to that in the next newsletter when it is available on-line. Dominique and I wish you all the best until next time.

Warmest regards,

Chef Glenn & Dominique

P.S. If you have any questions or comments about this issue of Trail Bytes, please reply to this email or use the contact form at

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