This soup is great for when you have left-over ham. Even if you don't, you can get one of those "ready-to-cook" ham steaks, chop it up, and it works great!
To start, chop up an onion and a couple cloves of garlic.
Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven.
Saute the onion & garlic until it is tender and just beginning to get golden on the edges.
Now toss in 2 or 3 cups of diced potatoes. I prefer the reds with skin on. If you like yours nekkid....go for it.
Next toss in about 2 cups of assorted frozen vegetables. If you prefer fresh, that is fine, just chop up your favorite soup veggies...you just need about 2 cups.
Stir them around, and then add just enough water to cover the veggies. About 2 1/2 - 3 cups.
Now, if you bought the "ready-to-cook" ham, add it now. If yours is already-cooked left-overs, wait until later. (You need about 2 cups)
Bring this to a boil, then reduce the temperature, and let it simmer until the vegetables are almost, but not quite done.
In the meantime, grate up a bunch of cheese. About 2 1/2 cups or so. I used half yellow, and half white sharp cheddar, but any kind of cheddar is fine. I think sharp is best though, because you can taste it better in the chowder.
Then in a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) of butter.
Whisk in 1/4 cup flour.
Then whisk in 2 cups milk.
Bring this to a boil, stirring constantly. It will thicken up nicely. Remove from heat.
Now add in about 2 cups of the grated cheese. Add a little at a time, stirring continually. You are melting in the yummy cheese. If you need to, you can return the saucepan to a low heat to finish the melting job.
***Just a note---you have just created a REALLY scumptious cheese sauce...think broccoli, peas, or any thing else that is good with cheese sauce. Stir in some salsa and you've got a great nacho dip!
Just think of the possibilities!
I'm just saying.
Okay...so now you are going to take this cheese sauce, and stir it into the veggie soup that's been cooking so patiently.
Now take a couple sprigs of fresh thyme, and pull off the leaves and toss them in. If you don't have fresh, just toss in about 3/4 tsp of the dry.
Now some salt...
Now add 1 cup of whole kernel corn.
**If you had the already/left-over ham, this is the time to add it in.
Let it cook until the corn is cooked, and the ham is hot.
Serve topped with the remaining grated cheese, and maybe a little parsley if you like.
PRINTABLE VERSION: Cheddar Ham Chowder