On the second day after Christmas, we had no food left in the house. OK, we had food, but nothing much to make for dinner. All I could scrounge up was the ham bone from HoneyBaked left from Christmas Eve. It had less than a cup of meat left on it.
What to do?
I dug around and found a package of diced pancetta with an expiration date of 12/29/12. Score!
I had a few potatoes, a bell pepper, a chunk of cheddar cheese, and some leftover mushrooms that would soon be going south. Hey, this might constitute a meal, after all!
Ham, Cheddar, Corn, and Mushroom Chowder
3 cups chicken broth
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
Ham bone, if available
6 – 8 large mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups non-fat milk
3 to 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
15 ounce can of creamed corn
2 cups cubed cooked ham (I used s scant 1 cup ham and a 4-ounce package of crisply cooked pancetta)
Sriracha sauce, to taste
In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, pepper, onion, and a ham bone, if you have one. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Add the mushrooms and turn off the heat. Keep covered.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. (On the back burner, I’m cooking the pancetta that I needed to fill in for half of the ham called for in the recipe.)
Stir in flour and pepper and cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute.
Add milk, all at once. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, whisking constantly.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add cheese to the sauce and stir until melted.
Remove the ham bone from the pot with the potato-mushroom mixture and stir the cheese sauce into to the pot.
Stir in the corn and ham (and pancetta, if using). Heat through, but do not allow to come to a boil.
Ladle into soup bowls, season with Sriracha and additional freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Serve hot.
Serves 6 to 8