Ham and green chile soup with cheddar cheese and chives

Ham and green chile soup 3


My husband returned from New Mexico a changed man.

Not because he beheld the majesty of the Southwest, per say . . . or not in the form of mountains, anyway.

He fell in love . . . with green chiles.

They’ve taken over our life.

When I stumbled across this recipe in a slow cooker book from my mom, I knew we’d have to get it on the schedule. I’ve gotten obsessed with our Crock Pot since getting married (when I suddenly became responsible for feeding myself regularly), and it’s fantastic because it does all the work for us. Is there anything better than dragging yourself in from work to find a hot, fragrant meal ready to be served?

I dare say not.

Before we got ourselves organized, I’ll admit that getting up before work to chop onions and meat was not at the top of our list of Most Awesomely Fun Things in the World — especially before coffee. But once we had the brilliant idea to, you know, get everything prepped the night before, we now just jump up to drop everything into the bowl of our slow cooker and go on our merry way, returning nine hours later to be served a delicious dinner. Just as God intended.

This recipe for ham and green chile soup was adapted from a green chile corn chowder recipe, and we both really liked it! I’ll admit to preferring chunkier, thicker soups, and this was . . . well, it was a soupier soup. But it was flavorful and different without being too heavy, which would make it a great choice for summer. We did add a slurry of cornstarch — about 3 tablespoons — and broth taken from the basin to help thicken it, but it was still on the soupy side. Which was perfectly okay.

We used fresh green chiles instead of canned, which may have impacted how hot/not hot they were, but our version of this was not every spicy at all — and I’m normally very susceptible to spice. I actually went back and added more black pepper after the fact. Give it a test as you go to determine whether it’s going to slay you . . . and adjust accordingly!


Ham and green chile soup

Recipe adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Recipes for Entertaining

Serves 6-8


Ingredients:
16 oz. can cream-style corn
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
4 oz. can diced green chiles, drained
2 oz. jar pimentos, chopped and drained
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cups cooked ham, chopped
20 oz. chicken broth (about 1.5 cans)
2 tbsp oregano
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
2 cups milk
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients except milk, cheese and sour cream in slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until potatoes are tender.
3. Stir in milk. Heat until hot, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve in individual bowls, topping with cheddar cheese and sour cream as desired. Enjoy!


Ham and green chile soup 2

Ham and green chile soup


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Southern Maryland stuffed ham: A local delicacy


We’re known for a few things in my small but proud home state of Maryland. One is blue crabs, of course; our seafood — and affinity for it — are legendary. If you’re into sports, you might respect the University of Maryland’s men’s basketball team (and lots of other sports, too). Perhaps you’ve been to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor or admired the waterfront in Annapolis, our capital.

But if you’re from down my way — Southern Maryland, as opposed to the richy-rich northern areas or the Eastern Shore — you might know us for our ham.

That’s right: ham.

I was first introduced to the delicacy that is Southern Maryland stuffed ham by a friend from work. Sandy invited me to join she and a group of girlfriends who gather each year to “stuff hams” for Thanksgiving.

After I got over my initial confusion at the phrase “ham stuffing,” which always prompts a raised eyebrow or two, I went. And had an awesome time.

The premise of a stuffed ham is simple: you take a big ol’ piece of corned ham, typically deboned, and create a “stuffing” consisting of cabbage, kale, crushed red pepper, onions, dry mustard seed, pepper and salt. Once that thing is stuffed, you bake it — and then enjoy. Recipes vary from cook to cook and county to county, but this one is pretty close to the handwritten one I photocopied from Sandy — as far as ingredients go, anyway. Based on preference, they can be mild or spicy.

However you choose to prepare or purchase yours, Southern Maryland stuffed ham is a delicacy you won’t soon forget — and it tastes even better the next day with spicy mustard. I love kale and all sorts of “disgusting” vegetables, so this sort of thing is right up my alley. It’s a delightful addition to our Thanksgiving table, and if no one else in the family likes it, well . . .

More for me. (How tragic, right?)

From my pumpkin-pie-eating face to yours, I hope y’all have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the day, stuff your face and then get ready to plunge into Black Friday shopping. I’ll be out at 6 a.m. (or thereabouts) before heading into the office, so wish me luck!


Happy Thanksgiving!