Yukon Gold Potato and Ham Chowder
2 3/4 cups water
3 cups peeled, cubed Yukon Gold potatoes (cubes about 1/2" to 3/4")
3/4 cup small, diced carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 cups half-and-half
3 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese (plus 1 cup more for garnish)
3 cups frozen or fresh corn (plus ½ cup more for garnish)
3 cups cubed ham ½” to ¾” in size (fully cooked)
4 strips of bacon diced and fried crisp (for garnish)
Dice up the bacon and fry in a skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet and reserve for garnish later. Drain off most of the bacon fat and add the ½ cup of corn kernels to the skillet. Fry until they begin to caramelize and brown on the edges. Remove from skillet and reserve for garnish later.
In a large pot, add the water, potatoes, carrots and garlic and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt, garlic salt and pepper and stir.
Lower the heat and cover for 10-12 minutes (until the potatoes and carrots are tender). Add the cooked ham.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add in the cornstarch. Whisk as you add in the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture is nice and bubbly and starts to thicken. Add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
Pour the cheese sauce into the large pot of potatoes and ham. Warm over medium heat stirring occasionally until ready to serve. Adjust seasoning if needed for taste.
Serve in a soup bowl. Garnish with a little more cheddar cheese and some charred corn kernels and crisp bacon bits.