Ham & Corn Chowder

ham & corn chowder

by JenniferA - Bread and Putter on May 4, 2011

How does that old saying go? Eternity is two people and a ham, I think.  If you add some split pea soup made from that ham, that eternity could not only be eternal but also, ummm… hard to digest.  And those two people may need some fresh air.  After Easter this year, I decided these two people weren’t up for the split pea soup aftermath.  I needed to find something new to do with the ham bone. So, I asked Twitter.  Hey, Twitter, what else can I do with a ham bone?  And Twitter came through for me!  The first suggestions that came through were greens braised with the ham bone.  And that sounded interesting, although I don’t have much experience with greens.  And then, Mark Scarborough, one of the men who actually wrote the book on ham came through.  He suggested a corn chowder.  Brilliant!  Mark didn’t give me a recipe and I didn’t look for one. I just made it up as it went along.  And whaddya know, it worked!

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I put the ham bone in my other slow cooker (not the groovy mid 80’s model), covered it most of the way with water and tossed in a bay leaf and some fresh ground pepper. I let the slow cooker do the heavy lifting all day on low, and came home to a rather hammy smelling kitchen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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After that, it came together the same way I would make a clam chowder – softened onions in butter, added chopped potatoes (I like a thin-skinned potato like these red ones because I hate peeling) and then instead of fish stock or clam juice, I added the ham broth from the slow cooker.  I simmered the potatoes in the broth, chopped up the remaining meat and added that to the pot along with about a pound or so of frozen corn kernels.  I added enough skim milk to fully cover the meat and vegetables and brought it to a simmer.  I took an early taste and didn’t get enough corn flavor so I got the idea to get out my immersion blender and process it a bit.  My immersion blender is a little wimpy (also circa 1986), so it took a little while to break up some of the corn.  If you have a fancy new more powerful one, probably just a few buzzes will do the trick – you just want to break up enough corn to flavor the broth and thicken the soup. You want a lot of the kernels to stay whole, like this:

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Once it was heated through, I served it garnished with some fresh chives and with some garlic bread on the side.  And it was delightful!!  The sweetness of the corn mixed with the salty, smoky ham was a fantastic combination.  I’m not usually much of a corn chowder person – it always struck me as kind of bland and ho-hum. This chowder though, my friends, is not ho-hum. It’s more oo-la-la. And uh-huh.  And mmmmmmmm.  So, give a try with your next ham bone – that eternity might seem just a little bit shorter. 
 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah May 4, 2011 at 4:01 am

I love corn chowder – now I just need a ham bone!!

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JenniferA - Bread and Putter May 5, 2011 at 12:42 am

Check with your butcher – I know mine sometimes has them in the freezer case.

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maggy@threemanycooks May 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Looks delicious!!! Love making soups with leftover meat. I know my mom and sister will love this too – will definitely pass it on.

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JenniferA - Bread and Putter May 5, 2011 at 12:42 am

Thank you – let me know if you try it!

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Colleen (Souffle Bombay) May 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm

All of the beautiful corn in the soup makes me want to pick up a spoon and dig in! You site looks great and yes…I will have a glass of white wine with you!

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JenniferA - Bread and Putter May 5, 2011 at 12:43 am

Let’s do that, Colleen! Thank you for stopping by!

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Scott Thomas Photography May 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Not into corn chowder as much as clam chowder. Do you know how to make a good THICK clam chowder?

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JenniferA - Bread and Putter May 5, 2011 at 12:45 am

Actually, this same recipe can be adapted to make clam chowder. Substitute clam juice or fish stock for the ham broth, substitute clams for the corn & ham. Use heavy cream instead of the skim milk to make it thicker. And you can even use the immersion blender to break up some of the potatoes and add to the thickness.

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Scott Thomas Photography May 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Thanks!!! Will give it a whirl!

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Mark Scarbrough May 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm

OK, I’m late to this party, but I love the new site. (Especially the dog in the raincoat!) Congrats, congrats, congrats!

M.

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JenniferA - Bread and Putter May 5, 2011 at 12:45 am

Thank you so much, Mark!! I’m glad you stopped by and thanks for the inspiration for the recipe!

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Trish January 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

Hi! This looks great! I’m a little lazy – could all of this go into the crockpot? Do you think some cream corn would work in addition to corn kernels? Excited to try it!

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