Let your slow cooker do the work for you with this creamy, comforting Corn & Potato Chowder, loaded with sweet corn, hearty potatoes, and flavorful ham.
Winter is about to wear me out, y'all. One day (today), it's 30°. By the weekend, it's supposed to get up to 80°. Every time we get a taste of spring it freezes again, and every time we resolve ourselves to more winter weather, warm temperatures and sunny skies tease us, if only for a few days.
On the upside, the indecisive weather at least means that we can still enjoy soup in good conscience, which in turn means that I can keep it on the menu rotation for the time being. Because let's be real here...there's not much easier than throwing some ingredients into a pot and walking away for awhile. If that pot happens to be a crock pot, well, even better. Let it do its thing all day long and, as an added bonus, your house will smell divine in the meantime.
This is an incarnation of a soup I've been throwing together for years depending on what ingredients I happen to have on hand. Sayyy...leftover ham. This meal is always a hit with the whole family, so I decided to measure out everything for a change and write it all down in order to share the recipe today. I almost hesitate to call it a 'recipe,' because it's embarrassingly easy. But that's my favorite category of recipe, and I imagine you don't mind quick and effortless-to-assemble dinners either, right?
If you're in a really big hurry to get it going, you can even make this chowder with frozen potatoes, like diced or shredded hash browns. Depending on how decadent you prefer the final result, feel free to add milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream to achieve that creamy broth. Just before serving, I like to scoop out a few ladles of potatoes onto a plate and gently mash them with a fork before stirring them back into the soup (it's okay if you accidentally scoop up some corn and ham, too, as those will hold their shape through the mashing). This serves to slightly thicken up the soup while retaining the various textures of the different ingredients. Finally, you can eat this soup as-is, or jazz it up with shredded cheddar on top and crackers on the side. It's equally yummy plain or embellished.
So while we wait for the groundhog to emerge for good, let's at least take advantage of the dwindling days of soup season, shall we? I don't know about you, but with a chowder like this to keep me cozy, I think I might just be able to endure a few more weeks of winter.
Slow Cooker Corn and Potato Chowder with Ham
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled & cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 (16-ounce bag) frozen corn, about 3 ½ cups
- 1 ½ cups diced ham
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, OR 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme
- 4 cups chicken broth OR stock
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 cups half-and-half
- Place potatoes, corn, ham, garlic, and thyme in slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over ingredients, season with freshly ground black pepper, and stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or until potatoes are tender.
- About 20 minutes before serving, scoop out 2 to 3 ladles full of potatoes onto a plate (it's okay if you scoop out a bit of corn and ham, too). Thoroughly mash potatoes with a fork and return to the crock pot, stirring them in to thicken the broth. Stir in the half-and-half, cover, and cook chowder for 15 more minutes or until heated through.
- Adjust the ingredients to your liking! My family loves garlic, so I actually end up using more garlic when I make this. You may use more or less ham depending on your preference, or leave it out altogether. You may use milk instead of half-and-half for a lighter soup or heavy cream for a richer final result. (And if you don't have half-and-half on hand, it's the same thing as using half milk and half cream.)
- This recipe can also be made in a large pot on the stove. Saute garlic in a bit of butter or olive oil until golden, then add broth, potatoes, corn, thyme, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove some potatoes, mash, and stir back into broth, along with ham and half-and-half. Cook over low for a few more minutes until heated through.