It’s Saturday 27 December, 2 days after Christmas, so I bet there are millions (billions??) of households around the world having ham for lunch. Sure, you could throw together a ham sandwich with fresh bread (yay, shops are open today!), or a frittata using other leftovers from your Christmas Day feast.
Or you could do something a little different and make this chowder.
“You could make yet another grilled ham and cheese sandwich to use up all that leftover ham…..or you could make this hearty, creamy soup!”
I’m a firm believer that for a soup to be a meal, it needs to be gutsy. And this soup is off the charts when it comes to oomph factor. It’s thick and chunky, creamy (without cream!!) and is one of those soups that is perfect for filling out even more with the addition of more vegetables (frozen diced vegetables are great!) or other leftover meats (think leftover turkey and chicken!).
I bet you thought it was bacon when you first saw the photo! Nope, not a shred of bacon in sight. Honestly, when you fry up the ham and cook it nice and crispy like you would with bacon, it will make you wonder why you don’t cook with ham more often. All the flavour but so much healthier!
To finish things off, I have a rather sad announcement to make…..I have run out of leftover Christmas ham!!! I felt a bit of a pang when I used up the last scraps for this recipe because it seems to signify the end of Christmas….and having to wait another 363 days until the next one.
For those of you who are lucky enough to still have a stash of Christmas Ham, here are some more suggestions for things you can make with it!
MORE THINGS TO MAKE WITH LEFTOVER HAM
Croque Madame Toastie Cups (Muffin Tin) – the best grilled ham and cheese you will ever have….
Ham and Cheese French Toastie Roll Ups – French Toast you can eat with your fingers!
No Washing Up Egg, Ham and Cheese Bread Bowls – yes, you read that right, there is no washing up at all!
- 1½ cups ham, roughly chopped (Note 1)
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small onion, diced (or half large onion) (yellow, brown or white)
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced into 8mm / ⅓" cubes (Note 2)
- 1½ cups frozen corn (or drained canned corn)
- 5 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk (I use low fat but full fat will work too)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1½ - 2 cups water
- 1½ tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme), plus extra for garnish
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Do not let the onion brown.
- Add the flour and whisk until mixed through the butter. Pour 1 cup of milk in and whisk until it starts to thicken (around 1½ minutes), then pour the remaining cup of milk in. Whisk until it thickens - around 1 to 1½ minutes. Then add the chicken stock, and 1½ cups of water and whisk until combined.
- Increase heat to medium high and add the potatoes into the soup. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes (Note 3), whisking fairly regularly to ensure the soup doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan. The soup will thicken as it cooks. Use the remaining ½ cup of water if the soup gets too thick before the potato has finished cooking.
- Just before the potato has finished cooking, add the corn in (just to heat it through).
- While the potato is cooking, heat olive oil in a small fry pan over high heat. Add the ham and sauté for 1 - 2 minutes until nicely browned. Remove fry pan from the heat and set aside. (Note 4)
- When the potato is cooked (tender but still holding its shape), remove the soup from the stove and stir through most of the thyme and ham (reserve a bit for garnish).
- If the soup is too thick for your liking, use water (or milk) to get the soup to your desired consistency. Add the salt and 5 grinds of black pepper, then do a taste test and adjust the saltiness if required.
- Serve, garnished with remaining thyme leaves and ham.
2. Use potatoes around the size of a tennis ball. Any potatoes will work for this recipe. I am in Australia and I use the potatoes you buy that have dirt on them (Sebago). Russet is a good all rounder in the US that is perfect for this.
3. Small diced potatoes would only take a couple of minutes to cook in water. They take much longer in this soup because they are being cooked in soup that has been thickened with flour.
See Note 5 for a faster way to make this soup.
4. You could brown the ham in the saucepan before you sauté the onion. You will need to wipe the saucepan clean after cooking the ham otherwise your soup will end up with a brownish tinge from the brown bits stuck on the saucepan from cooking the ham. When I am feeling particularly lazy and I want a one-pot soup, I will make the soup this way.
5. Alternative Method: A much faster way of making this is to "par boil" the potatoes in the microwave. Just place scrubbed (but not peeled) whole potatoes in the microwave on high for 2 minutes, then turn over and microwave for a further 2 minutes. Use oven mitts or a dishcloth to remove the potatoes from the microwave, then peel and dice.
You can then omit most of the water from the recipe because when you add the potato into the soup, it only needs a couple of minutes to cook instead of 10 minutes (so you don't need the water to thin the soup out which then thickens in the time it takes to cook the potato). Just use a bit of water to get the soup to the consistency you want.
6. The soup thickens ALOT and quickly when it cools. Use water or milk to achieve your desired consistency when reheating.