In anticipation of the rapidly approaching holiday season, next week will be spent eagerly preparing in all the quintessential ways: decorating and cleaning the house for guests, planning menus and buying groceries (and groceries and more groceries!). Recently, I’ve also been thoughtfully planning for when my favorite time of year is, sadly, over.
A common side effect of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, besides some extra inches around the waist, is tons of leftovers. I really hate seeing all that delicious food go to waste, so every year I try to find new and creative ways to utilize every last scrap. This recipe is the perfect way to make use of that uneaten holiday ham! Loaded with veggies (even carrots!) and a delectible creamy base, one batch of chowder makes plenty to feed the entire extended family for an encore feast. But feel free to halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.
Creamy Ham & Cheddar Chowder
- 3 ¼ cups water
- 4 cups peeled, cubed Butter Gold or Yukon Gold potatoes (cubes about ½” to ¾”)
- 1 cup sliced carrots (I buy shredded carrots and chop those in thirds)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 4 cups milk
- 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 2 cans corn (or about 3 cups fresh)
- 4 cups cubed cooked ham
In a large pot, bring water, potatoes, carrots, and garlic to a boil. Stir in salt, garlic salt, and pepper.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the ham cubes and corn. Reduce heat to lowest setting.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in cornstarch until fully combined. Add the milk to the butter/cornstarch mixture and whisk together. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
Pour milk mixture into the large pot of ham and vegetables and stir to combine. Heat through over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until read to serve. Serve topped with extra cheddar cheese and a small slice of bread or pita, if desired.