I love ham. We buy them around the holidays when they're on sale, so they are somewhat of a rare treat. For years, I tried ham and bean soup recipes to find a use for the ham bone and was forever disappointed. Oh, the soup was alright the first day, but the leftovers (and there were always leftovers) were unpleasant at best. Kansas Dad seemed to like them more than I did, but not enough to be particularly happy when faced with ham and bean soup...again.
So I went on a search for a different kind of recipe. I searched online and found a few different ham chowder recipes which I decided to adapt and combine. Mostly, I used this one. I ended up with a recipe Kansas Dad, First Son, and I love. (The other kids don't like anything except pasta and white rice, but they will eat a piece or two of ham out of the soup.)
First, make the stock. You can do this a day or two ahead of time. If so, just put it in the fridge and skim the fat before you use or freeze it. You'll probably get more stock than you need for the chowder. I freeze it and either make the soup some other time (when I have some ham but no bone) or for any recipe that calls for stock when ham seems like a good flavoring. I love these freezer jars for storing my stocks.
It's really easy to make the stock. I usually start it as we're cleaning up for dinner and just let it simmer away until I want to go to bed.
1 ham bone (with some meat still on the bone)
water to cover
Place the ham bone in a large pot with water to cover. Bring it to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for at least 30 minutes. Remove the bone and cut off any remaining meat. Save this for the chowder. You can reduce the broth if you like, but I usually just use it.
Now, the chowder!
2 tbsp butter
½ onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 ½ tsp diced Serrano chiles (optional)
1 tbsp flour
2 cups skim milk
4 cups ham stock or broth
6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
16 oz chopped ham (or whatever you happen to have)
12 oz bag of frozen corn
paprika, salt, and pepper to taste
- Melt butter over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, and chiles and cook until softened.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the flour, mixing until smooth.
- Slowly add the milk while stirring.
- Return the pot to the stove and cook over low heat until the milk thickens. (This takes a few minutes.)
- Add the broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the ham, corn, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook on low until the corn is warmed through.
We like our chowder spicy. I use a lot of our chiles because they've been in our freezer for a few years now and have lost some of their strength. You might want to start with less heat.
Use more or less stock depending on how much liquid you like in your chowder.
Use more or less ham depending on how much you have and how meaty you want your chowder. We like it with lots of meat.
If you have ham, but no bone, make the chowder with some other stock or just water.
This isn't a particularly low-calorie food, but it's very filling. I use Calorie Count to estimate the calories and then we use our kitchen scale to measure out a serving. (Calorie Count does not like "ham broth" or "ham stock" so I just use "beef stock" and go with it. It's all just an estimate anyway.)
By the way, the crusty bread is fantastic with this chowder.
Feel free to Pin or share this recipe, but please do not post it in its entirety in another location and always include a link to this post. Thanks for respecting the time I spent perfecting this recipe.