Saturday, March 20, 2010

Corn-Ham-Potato Chowder

With Easter approaching, many of us will have tucked some leftover ham into freezer containers. Here's a wonderfully comforting soup to use up the "ham scraps" and is the perfect meal to someone who isn't feeling up to par. How do I know? I was the person who had a bad cold and sore throat this week, but before I got sick, I got in a cooking mood and whipped up a big batch of soup. A couple of days later,wrapped in a blankie, eyes and nose red from the sniffling and sneezing, I looked up from a steaming bowl of the chowder and said to Greg, "I'm so thankful to my well self for making this soup for my sick self today."

All you need to round out the meal is a slice of hearty bread (I love Whole Foods hearty honey wheat artisan loaves, buttered and toasted) and some sliced fruit. Though it is super creamy, by using the method below, it takes very little cream and no flour to produce a nice rich chowder.

Into your biggest stock pot:

Saute 1/2 chopped onion and 2 pressed cloves garlic in a little butter and olive oil until translucent.

To this add:

1 box (32oz.)good quality chicken or vegie stock
3 or 4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
Simmer until potatoes are fork tender.

Add 2 cans drained corn (may use frozen or fresh corn if preferred)

Using a ladle carefully put about half stock/potatoes/corn mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour this back into the stock pan and it will act as a natural thickener for the chowder.

Add chopped ham, as much as you like -- 1 to 2 cups.

At this point add up to 2/3 cups half n' half (or until as creamy as you like), season with salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper to taste.

Heat through.

Serve in bowls with sprinkle of cheese, and float a few croutons on top.

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