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It’s December 27 and we still haven’t celebrated Christmas with my kids – the older kids. One was just called away for work, so the house will remain in full Christmas spirit until we can gather.

The house was extremely quiet this year for Christmas Day; not a creature was stirring, not even the youngest. She went to a sleepover party with friends (on Christmas Day night!). Still, the smell of baking ham is mandatory so I made a maple-glazed ham for two, enough to feed twelve. Now it’s time to get creative with leftovers.

The snow started, again, and the temperature dipped below freezing. Snow blowing and snow shoveling was in the future. A nice bowl of hearty soup to warm the soul … and the body. Chowder seemed like a logical place to start. And I had all the ingredients I needed.

Corn chowder is similar to New England clam chowder. It’s a cream-based soup made with corn, potatoes and other vegetables. Often a saute of celery, onion and red pepper is used, but I didn’t have celery; onion, red pepper and green onion – colors of Christmas – would have to do. I would have added some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, for a nice smoky heat, but I didn’t have that either.

I used russet potatoes and frozen diced potatoes. I figured the russet would thicken the base and the frozen diced potatoes would add texture. Russets are great for baking and don’t hold their shape after cooking – don’t use them for scalloped or potato salad recipes.

If you don’t have leftover baked ham, fry up some bacon.

Corn Chowder

corn chowderWhat you need:

  • 5 lg russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 stk butter
  • 2 red peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 20 oz frozen diced potatoes
  • 20 oz frozen corn
  • 6 c low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 c chopped maple-glazed baked ham
  • 1 1/2-2 c cream
  • Garnish with shredded cheese (Swiss, rosemary jack, etc.)

What you do:

  • Bring about 4 c salted water to boil in lg pot.
  • Add russet potatoes and cook until just able to pierce with fork, about 20 min.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • Melt butter in saute pan.
  • Add onion, pepper, scallion and garlic.
  • Saute until vegetables become soft, about 15 min.
  • In lg pot add vegetable broth.*
  • Add frozen diced and russet potatoes.
  • Add onion mixture, corn and ham.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to boil, simmer, and cook for about 1 hour.
  • Add cream and mix well; russet  potatoes should become “mashed” in consistency.
  • Spoon into serving dish and top with cheese.

*From this point, all ingredients can be placed in slow cooker. Cook on low for at least an hour.