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Ham Broccoli and Potato Chowder


1/2 to 1 lb. ham, 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup butter
2 cups half and half
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 large or 2 medium onions
1 leek, minced (optional)
1 32 oz box chicken or vegetable broth
pinch each of thyme and sage
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. each onion and garlic powder
3 tablespoons flour or 2 tablespoons Wondra
1/4 tsp. pepper (white preferred)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 lb. shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheese (optional)
2 large potatoes, peeled, 1/2-inch cubes
1 10 oz. pkg shoe-peg frozen corn (thawed)
1 10 oz. pkg chopped frozen broccoli (thawed)
a pinch of salt, to taste


In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Saute onion until light browned and translucent; add ham cubes and minced leek, if using. Stir over high heat for several minutes. Add garlic and saute over medium heat for another minute or two. Add a pinch of thyme and sage (a little goes a long way).
Stir in chicken or vegetable broth. Add potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Add bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer.
While stirring with a whisk, sprinkle in flour, stirring until smooth. Add garlic and onion powder. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in thawed broccoli and corn. Continue to cook over low heat until all vegetables are tender.
Combine sour cream and half and half. Simmer until heated through; add remaining butter. Sprinkle in cheese (optional) and simmer, stirring until cheese has melted (just a few minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove bay leaf. Serve with buttered biscuits or chowder crackers.
Cooks Note: Some of the corn may be mashed to thicken the soup. The frozen corn can be substituted with cream-style corn, if desired.

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