I love a good chowder. My mother instilled that in me, as she made excellent and easy chowder, and there were never leftovers.
But as leftovers go, holidays with ham dinners often produce leftovers, and this is a great way to use up some of that. It is hearty and comforting and just the thing to brace the last few days of chilly weather before warm spring days finally arrive.
I really think this is simple to make, and although that normally might make it my favorite thing about it. But the flavors remind me of my childhood, spending days watching the skies to see if it looked like it was going to rain or snow. And after a romp around the yard, I would always look forward to Mom ready to warm me up with a bowl of hot soup.
Ham and potato chowder
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
32 fluid ounces chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound diced smoked ham
12 fluid ounces evaporated milk
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
3 tablespoons cornstarch
salt to taste
1. Saute celery, carrot, and onion in olive oil with fresh thyme in a deep heavy pot until onions soften, 5-10 minutes.
2. Stir in the chicken broth, black pepper, garlic, and diced potatoes.
3. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
4. Stir in diced ham.
5. Whisk together evaporated milk, cornstarch, and chives; add to soup and bring to a boil, boiling 1 minute, stirring constantly, until soup thickens.
6. Adjust salt to your taste (I don’t add it earlier because chicken broths vary in saltiness so I adjust at the end of cooking.)
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