Food & Drink Magazine

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder

By Mariealicerayner @MarieRynr
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
We had the last of the New Years Ham which needed using up today.  I contemplated doing scalloped potatoes with ham, but my father doesn't really like scalloped potatoes. (I know! I don't understand it either!)
I have a cookbook entitled The weeknight Dinner Cookbook, by Mary Younkin. It is filled with simple, family friendly recipes. I spied a delicious sounding recipe in it for a Potato and Ham soup that is cooked in the slow cooker, and so I decided to adapt it for my own use.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
First of all the original recipe was far too large. It made 10 to 12 servings. We are only four and we did not want to be eating soup forever.  
Plus this is a creamy soup and has potatoes in it. I did not think it would lend itself well to freezing. One, potatoes like his don't really freeze well, and two, neither do soups or sauces containing cream.  Plus none of us really like the texture of ham after it has been frozen.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder

 It was fairly easy to cut the quantities in half for this.  I did keep the cook times the same.Mary did not peel her potatoes for this.

My sister felt that it would probably bother my father and Dan if we left the peels on the potato.  She didn't want a soup with potato skins floating around in it.  Fair enough. I peeled the potatoes.

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder

 I did not have double cream or half and half to use, so I used coffee cream. It has been my experience in the past that you can also use undiluted evaporated milk in the place of both. It works well and you can't really taste that it is canned milk.

Personally, I would have loved to add a can of creamed corn to this. But, nobody (ie. Dan and dad) likes creamed corn. I don't understand that either because I could just eat it from the can with a spoon.

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
Oh how I am looking forward to corn season next summer!  I can't wait!  The whole time I was in the UK I longed for a good feed of fresh corn on the cob.  The British don't really do corn on the cob well.
For one thing, it is such a damp climate that it doesn't really grow well there.  Most of their corn is imported from South America, Africa and the continent. Right away anyone who knows corn will tell you that is a bad idea.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder

Corn should be eaten as soon as possible after it is picked. The longer you wait to eat it, the more the starch develops in the corn.  Can you imagine the time taken to pick it and ship it from those foreign countries?  I know! 

Secondly, you should never peel corn until you are ready to cook it.  Husked corn also stars to degenerate rapidly. I never saw corn un-husked in the grocery shops there. Never.  Now you know why I am looking forward to corn on the season this year!

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
But I digress, and none of that has anything to do with this soup recipe, except to say that I think a can of creamed corn would go nicely in it.
I choose to call it a chowder myself, rather than a soup.  A soup which is creamy and has a high potato content to me, is a chowder. Soup or chowder, however you choose to name it, this is one delicious pot of flavours.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
It is thick and creamy. This is partially due to the use of the cream, and partially due to the fact that some of the soup gets pureed and stirred back into the soup.
I used my stick blender that Jan bought me for the first time and it worked beautifully. (Thank you Jan!!)  Its a Kitchen-Aid and worked a charm. You can also use a regular blender to do this.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
If you do need to use a regular blender for this, proceed with caution.  Hot liquids and blenders can be very volatile combinations.
The heat from the liquid builds up in the blender and can blow the lid right off.  Been there, done that. Not only can you receive some really bad burns from this, but you will be cleaning soup off your ceiling for weeks and months to come. Trust me.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
The best way to do puree hot things in a blender is to remove the little cup from the center of the lid and work in small quantities.  Also cover the lid with a tea towel to help protect your hands and hold the lid firmly in place.  
I speak thusly from experience, having blown the lid off a blender early on in my cooking journey. Thankfully I only had a mess to clean up and didn't burn myself. Its so much easier and safer to use a stick blender in my humble opinion.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
Pureeing some of the liquid with some of the potatoes and ham really helps to thicken this soup.  It gives it a nice creamy consistency.
Do be judicious when adding salt.  Ham is a very salty ingredient and so you really don't want to be over-doing the salt!
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder 
This is a hearty soup with beautiful flavours. You get the creaminess from the cream.  Saltyness from the ham. Herbiness from the use of thyme and rosemary, and then lets not forget the garlic and the onion.  Both are not only flavourful but very aromatic as well. 
Altogether we declared this a lovely soup and one we would make again. Not just because it was delicious, but also because it was very easy to make.
Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder


 It is delicious served simply with crisp crackers, but those of you who are heartier eaters you may want to serve it with rolls, or hot buttered toast. Also baking powder biscuits would go down really well.  I would be tempted also to serve some grated cheese to sprinkle on top. 

No matter, this recipe makes for one very tasty hot bowl of soup!  Yum yum!!

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham Chowder

Slow Cooker Potato & Ham ChowderYield: 4Author: Marie Raynerprep time: 10 Mincook time: 6 Hourtotal time: 6 H & 10 MThis delicious creamy soup is perfect for a cold winter's day and a great way to use up the last of your New Year's Ham.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 pound cooked ham, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups (720ml) chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground rosemary
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) half and half or heavy cream
Optional Toppings:
  • minced chives
  • finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Combine the potatoes, ham, onion, garlic, chicken stock, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary in a slow cooker.  Stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on high (3 to 4 hours) or low (6 - 8 hours.)
  3. When the potatoes are fork tender, scoop out about 2 cups (480g) of the potatoes and ham into a blender, or a tall measuring cup.  Blitz until smooth and creamy in the blender, or with a stick blender in the cup.
  4. Return the blended mixture to the slow cooker along with the cream. Reduce to low and keep warm for up to one hour.
  5. Scoop into heated bowls to serve, along with suggested garnishes as desired.
Did you make this recipe?
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