I was recently informed by a very reliable source on what's currently cool (in other words, a tween girl) that the 1990s now qualify as "vintage" and are therefore cool again.
On the one hand, that's good news for the pair of Doc Martens that's been tucked away in my closet since university. But on the other hand, I'm way less thrilled about the fact that scrunchies are cool again, or that someone felt it as a good idea to bring back Party of Five, 90210 and Full House.
(However, if anyone feels like rebooting Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The X-Files, I would have zero complaints.)
On the bright side, that also means a bunch of the recipes I first started making in the nineties are also due to be dusted off for their second act.
And unlike Hypercolor shirts and fanny packs, this chowder recipe I've been making since my high school days totally deserves a comeback. It's a budget-friendly dish that transforms a little bit of ham and some basic pantry staples into a stick-to-your-ribs chowder that's perfect for cold winter days.
Can I Make This With Leftover Ham?
Absolutely! This recipe is one of my favourite ways to use up a leftover ham after a big holiday dinner, because it stretches out a relatively small amount of ham into a hearty meal for four.
In fact, if you still have your ham bone kicking around, add it to the pot along with the broth and potatoes. It'll add another layer of rich, smoky flavour to your broth.
But don't sweat it if all you have is a boneless ham from the grocery store. This chowder gets plenty of smokiness from the combination of ham, chili powder and smoked paprika.
Why Don't Potatoes Soften in Tomato-Based Soups
Ever put potatoes in a soup and find that they stay stubbornly hard, no matter how long you cook them?
This is a common problem in tomato-based broths because tomatoes are an acidic ingredient. This acidity keeps the potatoes from fully softening - they'll eventually cook through and lose most of their "raw" texture, but it will take much longer (sometimes up to 45 minutes) and they'll never achieve that perfect fall-apart tenderness that's ideal for soups or stews.
Thankfully, there's an easy fix for this - just wait until the potatoes are soft before you add the tomatoes to the pot. Tah-dah! Tender potatoes and flavourful tomato broth, together at last.
More Hearty Soups to Chase Off the Cold
As a born and bred Canadian gal, I know a thing or two about winter weather, including the fact that the very best antidote for sub-zero temperatures is a steaming-hot bowl of soup.
If you're looking for more ways to keep warm, here are a few more substantial soups to keep you cozy until spring finally rolls around:
- Turkey Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Thai Tomato Soup with Coconut Milk
- Quick Salmon Chowder
- Mulligatawny Soup
- Traditional French-Canadian Split Pea Soup
This hearty chowder combines leftover ham with chunks of potato and sweet corn in a smoky tomato broth for a stick-to-your-ribs meal that's perfect for cold winter days.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup diced cooked ham
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 medium potatoes, cut into ½" cubes
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 can (540 ml) diced tomatoes
- ½ cup frozen corn niblets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ham. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Stir in the broth, potatoes, chili powder, paprika, oregano and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the tomatoes and corn, and continue simmering for 5 minutes longer to let the flavours blend before serving.
Using Leftover Ham: If you have a leftover ham bone, add it to the pot along with the broth and potatoes, then discard just before serving. It'll add another layer of delicious smoky flavour!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Soups
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Canadian