Saturday, December 29, 2012

Super Simple Potato Ham Chowder

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My grandmother sent us off from Christmas Eve dinner with a generous ziploc bag full of thick cut holiday ham.  Anyone else still have a bit of holiday ham that they need to do something with this weekend?  (Yeah, time is ticking by quick for that Christmas ham. ;) ) 
I wanted to quickly use up that last bit of ham last night.  You can only eat so many ham sandwiches in one week for lunch, right? 

We have had some pretty chilly evenings here lately, and I thought what would be better than a nice hearty pot of potato ham chowder for dinner?  This chowder is all homemade and so easy to make.  Even better, it is so easy to take this basic recipe and change it up by adding a few ingredients to make this chowder all your own.  

What you will need:
1 small onion, chopped
About 2 cups of thick sliced ham, cubed (I used about 4-5 slices.)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups of chicken or turkey broth

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted.  Add your onions and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the cubed ham.  Saute for another 3-4 minutes.  Pour in your broth and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook until tender.  Mash about half of the potatoes in the pot with a potato masher.  Make sure you leave some chunks though! 
Taste your broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.

And that is it! :) Easy, peasy, right?

Now if you want to get a little fancy, here are a few very easy variations for your Super Simple Potato Ham Chowder...

Add some soup beans or cannellini beans to make your chowder stretch even further.  I would add a bit more liquid to the chowder since the beans will add more starch.  Start with  1 cup of water or broth, and then add a little more if needed.

Add chopped kale near the end of the cooking time.

For a little kick, drop in a tablespoon of chiles in adobo sauce (pureed) or one Chile Cube.

Stir in a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and a few handfuls of steamed broccoli florets.

I just served up the classic chowder recipe with a sprinkling of monterey cheese on top. 
The basic recipe makes about 4 servings. 

How will you make your Super Simple Potato Ham Chowder?  Classic and simple?
One of the variations I suggested above?  
Or will you create your own take on it?   
Remember it is all about using what you have on hand! :)