I’m typically pretty sad when the holiday season is over, but this time around I’m somewhat happy about it because it means we can get a break from traveling! We’ve been out of town for the past four weekends, two of which were long weekends, so it’s really, really, nice to be home.
Over the holidays Aaron and I purchased a couple pounds of Country Ham from Broadbent Hams in Kuttawa, Kentucky to serve with biscuits, pimento cheese, and pickles at our family celebration. And oh my goodness, is this ham delicious. It’s aged, dry cured, and hickory smoked to perfection! We toted it around throughout our holiday travels and still had a few slices left over when we got home after New Years. I certainly didn’t want it to go to waste, so I worked it into my plans to make clam chowder yesterday. The result was a perfect, indulgent, way to end winter break.
Today, on the other hand, reality sets in, and I’m back to work, back to clean eats, and back to exercising!
32 ounces seafood stock or homemade clam stock
2 10 ounce cans of wild caught baby clams, drained (I used their juices in a homemade stock)
3 small leeks, cleaned, rinsed, and sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3-4 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
4-5 slices pre-cooked country ham, diced
1/2 cup half & half or heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bouquet garni (I used tarragon and parsley)
1 bay leaf
Smoked paprika, cayenne, kosher salt, freshly ground cracked pepper to taste
Parsley and chives for garnish
Toasted sourdough for dipping
Heat the country ham in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until warm and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the leeks and onions in any remaining fat and add olive oil if the mixture is too dry (since the ham is already pre-cooked, most of the fat has been rendered out of it). Season with a touch of salt (the ham is salty enough for this dish) and pepper.
When the leeks and onions are soft, throw in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Then, add in the potatoes and ham and give the mixture a good stir. Pour in the stock, add the bay leaf and bouquet garni, and bring to a boil. Let the chowder simmer for about 30-60 minutes, until the flavors combine and the potatoes are soft.
Remove the bouquet garni and bay leaf. Then, pour in the cream and stir to combine. Remove the chowder from the heat and add the clams. Again, stir to combine and let the clams warm up in the hot chowder. Serve with toasted sourdough and garnish with parsley and chives.