I have an absolutely delicious and heartwarming chowder recipe to share with you today! This amazing smoked ham, potato, and corn chowder is truly a soul-satisfying masterpiece that I can’t wait for you to try. The moment the first spoonful hits your lips, you’ll be transported to food heaven!
The smoky, savory flavor from the ham cubes seamlessly complements the sweet juicy corn kernels and smooth, creamy diced potatoes. Every single bite is an explosion of comfort, joy and nostalgia. I first tasted a similar recipe years ago on a family vacation to a cozy little inn tucked away in the mountains. With each steaming spoonful, memories came flooding back of roasting marshmallows over a crackling fire, listening to the pine trees sway in the midnight breeze.
This versatile one-pot wonder comes together in a cinch and can be customized in endless ways to suit your tastes. I’ve made it for potlucks, winter tailgates, sick days and snow days. It always disappears faster than I can ladle it! The recipe I’m sharing today includes my own personal tweaks and secret ingredients gathered through extensive experimenting in my tiny apartment kitchen. I doubled the smoked ham for maximum flavor and added a touch of cayenne pepper to give it some warmth. Trust me, once you inhale the incredible aromas as it simmers away, you’ll be hooked!
What kind of ham works best?
I prefer a nice smoked ham hock or ham steak. The smokiness adds great depth of flavor.
Can I use frozen corn instead of fresh?
Absolutely! Just make sure it’s thawed before adding to the pot.
Is russet or red potato better?
Russets hold up the best, but red skins also work nicely.
How spicy is this chowder?
It has a nice gentle heat from the dried thyme and black pepper. But you can always add more cayenne if you like it extra spicy!
What goes well with this chowder?
I love to serve it with some crusty bread or a fresh green salad. A nice ale or hard cider pairs great too.
Do I need to finish with cream?
You don’t have to, but I love the extra richness that just a touch of heavy cream or half and half provides.
How long will this chowder keep?
It stores nicely in the fridge for 4-5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 pound smoked ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 cups corn kernels
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream or half and half (optional)
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- To start, take 4 slices of no nitrate turkey bacon and cut into tiny 1⁄4 inch pieces, ensuring that you have multiple pieces of bacon for each bite of the chowder. In a 6 quart stainless steel Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté the diced turkey bacon for 8-10 minutes, stirring vigilantly every 2-3 minutes with a heat resistant rubber spatula to promote even cooking and crisping. Continue cooking until the turkey bacon is fully browned, crisp and fragrant. Use a metal slotted spoon to carefully remove the crispy turkey bacon morsels and transfer to a clean paper towel laid on top of a microwave safe plate, gently spreading them out to thoroughly drain excess grease.
- Next, finely chop 1 pound of Boar’s Head low sodium ham into identically 1⁄2 inch dice, working meticulously to keep the pieces uniform in size so that they cook evenly and provide balanced distribution of flavor and texture in the finished dish. Add the chopped ham to the hot turkey bacon grease remaining in the Dutch oven. Stirring constantly and deliberately using a wooden spoon with a soft, round head to prevent breaking the ham up further, sauté the ham over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the pieces develop light golden edges yet still retain a meaty pink center. Transfer the seared ham with a new, unused metal slotted spoon to the plate holding the drained turkey bacon, fanning it out evenly into one layer to drain alongside the bacon pieces.
- Carefully clean and dry the slotted spoon and wooden spoon before proceeding. Next, mince 1 large Vidalia onion into 1⁄4 inch dice. Slice 2 large, shapely organic celery stalks thinly at a 45 degree bias. In the same Dutch oven used to cook the bacon and ham, sauté the diced onions and sliced celery together over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring carefully but frequently with the wooden spoon until the softened onions appear mostly translucent and the celery retains a slight crispness yet has wilted down significantly in size. Mix in 3 large freshly minced garlic cloves and continue cooking for 1 minute more until the garlic just begins to turn golden on the edges, letting the aroma intensify without allowing it to burn.
- Try using chicken broth for a lighter chowder or veggie broth to make it vegetarian.
- Add other veggies like carrots, parsnips or green beans for extra flavor.
- A teaspoon of smoked paprika amplifies the smoky ham flavor.
- Garnish with shredded cheese, croutons or green onion for extra texture.
- Leftover baked potato works great instead of raw potatoes.
- Cook bacon in oven at 400°F for 12-15 minutes to make less greasy.