Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ham Potato and Cauliflower Chowder

A hearty chowder full of bite size pieces of ham and potato in a creamy cauliflower and ham broth.  Using cauliflower is a great way to lighten up a traditional Ham and Potato Chowder.

We always buy a large spiral ham around the holidays.  I love saving the ham bone in the freezer so I can make soup during the cold winter months.  That's just what I did this weekend when we had a blast of freezing arctic temperatures where I live. 

I boiled the ham bone and made a ham broth to make my soup.  I decided a ham and potato chowder would be a great way to warm us up during the below freezing weather.  Then I felt a little guilty eating all those starchy potatoes in a milk based soup.    I decided to lighten up the chowder a lot by substituting a cauliflower for the creaminess that the potatoes and milk give the soup.  When you boil and blend the cauliflower, it makes a wonderful rich and creamy soup.  Then I added two large potatoes to complete the texture of the soup.

If you decide to make this soup with a ham bone, make sure you start it the day before you actually make the soup.  I always make my stocks/broths a day before and let it chill overnight in the fridge so all the fat/oil floats to the top and I can easily skim it off so the soup is not laden with all that unwanted oil. 

Now if you don't have a ham bone... don't fret.  You can always substitute chicken broth/stock.  I just loving making my own stock because it's basically free... and free is always welcome with my food budget.  I also love how much really good ham was hidden around that bone that I never would have used up if I didn't boil it for the stock.  Not one bit of that spiral ham went to waste and I love getting 100% or more from my food. 

This soup was so good that my son ate it for several meals that day.  Yes... he even had a bowl for breakfast!  He said it was one of the best soups I have ever made. That made me feel so happy.  I loved that it was lightened up and that allowed me to have a second bowl as well.

Ham Potato and Cauliflower Chowder
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer

2-3 cups chopped cooked ham
1 large onion chopped
2 large potatoes cut int small cubes
1 large head of cauliflower cut into small pieces
1 bunch of green onions/scallions
8-10 cups ham broth or chicken broth
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp granulated garlic
red chili flakes to taste
chicken bullion powder **if needed
2 cups cheddar cheese(save some for garnish)
1/2 cup light sour cream
salt and black pepper to taste 

Step 1:  Chop ham, onion, cauliflower and potatoes. I used the ham from my ham bone, but you can buy deli ham and chop if you do not have a ham bone.

Step 2: Saute onions in 1 Tbs of canola oil.  Once onions soften, add chopped cauliflower and 4-6 cups of chicken broth or ham broth.  Bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is tender. 

 Step 3: Use a stick blender or a regular blender to puree the cauliflower.  Then add the remaining broth to the pot.  Next add the diced potatoes, chopped ham and chopped green onion and season with garlic, thyme, red chili flakes.   Cook on medium high heat until potatoes are fork tender. 

Step 4: Lower heat to medium and add the shredded cheese.  Stir well to melt the cheese.  Then lower the heat to medium low and add the sour cream.  Stir well.  Taste for salt and seasoning and adjust as needed.  Serve hot. Enjoy.

To make the Ham Broth:

The ham broth, chilled to show the white congealed fat on the top.
Place ham bone in a large stock pot with, one coarsely chopped onion and 12 cups of water (enough to cover the ham bone and meat).  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.  Simmer for 90 minutes.  Allow broth to cool down then place fridge over night or up to 2 days.  Once fully chilled, skim the layer of fat off the top of the broth and discard.  Strain broth.  Pull apart all the pieces of meat from the bone and use in the soup. Discard any pieces of fat.

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