Whip up this simple Ham and Corn Chowder any time you’ve got a leftover ham bone that needs using! It’s hearty, healthy, and a comforting use of your leftovers!
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I love a good ham. Especially at Christmas or Easter. So yummy. But there always seems to be SO much ham leftover and I’m often left scratching my head at what to do with it all. Not to mention the ham bone! What does one do with a ham bone?!
I don’t know if you’re like me or not… but I am not a ham and lentils or split pea soup fan. And I feel like that’s the ‘traditional’ thing to do with a ham bone. So more often than not, I will admit… the ham bone has just gotten the toss. Into the trash it went.
But hang on now… all hope is not lost! Over the years, I have come across a few recipes and ideas that help to use up that ham bone (and/or leftover ham). And today I want to share one of those options… Ham and Corn Chowder.
Ham and Corn Chowder is creamy, comforty (not a word), and it uses up that ham bone so that I can be a good homesteader and ‘use every part of the buffalo’… so to speak. 😝
How to Store Extra Ham and a Leftover Ham Bone
When we’ve finished a delicious dinner of a scrumptious spiral ham, with corn casserole, potatoes, homemade rolls, raspberry pomegranate jello, fancy green salad, and….. wait. Where was I going with this?
Oh ya. We’ve eaten all our food and there’s a big half-eaten ham staring at me.
The first thing you’ll want to do is cut off any remaining meat and store it in an airtight container or ziploc bag. (Or give it to a neighbor. 😝) A good option is to store the meat in several smaller (i.e. quart size) freezer bags and keep them in the freezer for future use. (Keeping them in smaller bags makes it easy to grab one and thaw it when you’ve got a meal you want to use it in… as opposed to having to thaw an entire gallon-size bag.)
After you’ve got the majority of the meat picked off (it’s fine… and even good for this recipe… to leave a bit of the meat on the bone), you can take the leftover bone and throw it in another ziploc bag. You can then place it in the fridge or the freezer… depending on how soon you will be using it.
How to Make Ham and Corn Chowder
The time has come that we’re ready to use that ham bone. Awesome!
Make a Broth with the Ham Bone
First things first… we’re going to take that bone and make a broth with it. To do this, simply place it in a slow cooker, cover it with water, and let it simmer for several hours on high heat (about 4).
Now, when you boil the bones they will also add some juice to the pot. So don’t fill your crockpot too full when you start. Or you might end up with an over-flowy mess.
But after your bones have been simmering and creating some brothy goodness, we’re gonna need to reduce the amount of liquid we’ve got in the crockpot, by about half.
Why are we doing this? Well, quite simply… because if we try to add our other ingredients at this point, we will overflow the pot. So we need to make room for the rest of the soup. 😉
But there’s no need to throw out that liquid. You could totally save it for the next time you’re cooking rice and use it in place of the water! Or you could save it to make this soup again (when you no longer have the bone anymore)! Just pour the liquid into an airtight container (like a mason jar?) and store it in the fridge for up to a week or two.
Add Veggies and Seasonings
After you’ve reduced the liquid to halfway down the crockpot, add in the potatoes, celery, onion, and spices to the pot. (PS. Carrots would totally be good in this too. You should try it with carrots. 😁) Let this cook for another 3-4 hours (on low).
Take the Meat Off the Bone
When the veggies are nice and tender (and it’s about an hour before you’re ready for dinner), remove the ham bone from the soup and shred up all the chunks of ham. (The meat should basically just fall off the bone at this point.)
NOW you can toss that leftover ham bone out without the least bit of guilt… knowing you’ve used the goodness within it to make a healthy broth/soup. (Or toss it to a dog to chew on? I dunno… we don’t have a dog.)
Return the shredded ham to the soup.
Thicken It Up and Add Finishing Touches
In a separate bowl, whisk together some milk and flour. (I like to use a combo of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.) Slowly pour this into the soup while stirring.
Add in some frozen corn, extra ham (if desired), and test your level of seasoning. (Add more salt and pepper, if needed.)
Let this heat up until nice and thick, and there you have it! A yummy dinner made from using up your leftovers! You can top it with some grated cheese and/or fresh parsley, if desired.
Enjoy it with some homemade rolls or a buttered slice of homemade bread and you’re set for a cozy evening at the dinner table.
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- 1 meaty ham bone
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, sliced
- 4 medium russet potatoes, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups flour (I use half whole wheat and half all-purpose)
- 3 cups of milk
- 1 (12 to 16 oz) bag frozen corn
- 2 cups of more chopped ham (optional)
- In a large slow cooker, cover the ham bone with water and cook on high for 4-6 hours. (Can totally do this for longer if needed. This is just making a broth from the bone.)
- Reduce the amount of liquid in the slow cooker by about half. (This can be saved in the fridge to be used as the liquid for cooking rice, or to make soup again, or something similar at another time. It's broth so don't just throw it out!)
- To the remaining liquid in the slow cooker, add the potatoes, celery, onion, and spices. Cook on low for another 3 to 4 hours, until veggies are nice and tender.
- About an hour before it's time to eat, remove the ham bone from the soup take all the meat off the bone. (It should just basically fall right off the bone at this point.) Shred the ham and discard the bare bone.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and flour. Then pour the mixture (slowly) into the soup while stirring to keep it from clumping.
- Stir in the corn, ham (plus extra ham, if using), and test your level of seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Let this heat up until nice and thick, then serve. Top with grated cheese and/or fresh parsley, if desired.