The tree is up, even though it leans precariously to one side as if tempting one of the new kittens to bring it all down in a blaze of silver tinsel and glory. A small smattering of precisely wrapped and bowed packages are waiting patiently under the leaning tree tempting the children to wonder what could be in them. In the kitchen, the last vestiges of Thanksgiving dinner – the fancy plates and utensils – have been put away although the extra chairs are still floating around the table. There is only the bottomless container of dressing, a spoonful of green beans and a little turkey and ham left from the big dinner. There are a couple half eaten pies that I am too terrified to eat knowing that the calories definitely count when it’s not a holiday. The fridge is slowly clearing out and its up to me to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.
The repurposing of the holiday leftovers is always an exercise in both flavor and laziness. We all want dinner to be delicious but the lady who just spent three days making one meal in me just wants it to be done and with minimal cleanup. That’s why I love soup. It’s one pot of easy, affordable dinner and everyone likes it.
This ham chowder used to make a regular appearance in the menu when I still did some catering. It’s creamy and savory and perfect for a chilly night of decorating the Christmas tree and watching a sappy holiday movie. It’s a salad away from being a complete meal if that kind of thing is important to you or you could just have a second bowl of chowder.
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups about 1 pound diced ham
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 Tablespoons cold water
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 10 oz. package frozen chopped broccoli
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cups half and half
- ½ cup shredded mild cheddar
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and melt the butter. Add onion to the hot butter and cook until translucent. Stir in the garlic and ham and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the thyme, sage, salt and pepper, broth and bay leaf. Stir in the potatoes, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry, corn and broccoli and coo until soup begins to thicken. Turn heat to LOW and whisk in the half and half, sour cream and cheese. Heat until just steaming (do not boil) and serve immediately.