My grandmother was a wonderful cook and, thankfully, we have many of her recipes. I make the dishes a lot but have modified them a bit to suit the needs of my family and me. My changes haven’t been for flavor because grandma could sure cook; they’ve been for cost and convenience of ingredients. Her recipes call for things like lard, bones, and rendered fat from the butcher (not the most appealing when you think about it).
This chowder is one of our winter favorites. It’s rich and flavorful and warms you up to the tips of your toes. It eats like a meal — with every spoonful, you experience a creamy base and chunks of vegetables. That is the best way to eat soups in the dead of winter.
Over the years, I’ve taken to using deli sliced ham cut into small pieces and creamed corn from the can … sorry, not from the preserving shelf in the basement. (Sidenote: I wish I had time to make creamed corn from scratch and preserve it each summer!) I also use a mixture of cream and milk since I don’t have the amazing, luxurious cream my grandmother once had delivered to her porch. That is a substitution I wish I didn’t have to make!
For all of you winter soup lovers, here is a good one from my grandmother’s kitchen to mine, and now to yours:
Ham & Corn Chowder
3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 14-ounce creamed corn, with liquid
6 ounces sliced ham, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 cup light cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the potatoes, carrots, shallot, and salt. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and boil for about five minutes, or until the potatoes are tender enough to spear with a fork. Drain the water and reserve the vegetable stock for later, if desired.
2. Add the butter, creamed corn, ham, cream, milk, and pepper and bring the soup to a simmer for about five minutes. Serve hot.