It was a gloomy and windy Sunday afternoon. My P.S., son and grandson were off to the gun range to do manly things with guns. Not that women can’t do gun things, but they didn’t invite women along. So we must assume they were doing manly things. I decided to do foodly things. No bullets or earplugs would be necessary. We’d just need a bowl, a spoon and perhaps a napkin.
I was in the mood for a cheesy corn chowder. Then I saw a recipe to add pickles to soup and make a dill pickle soup. Then I found a ham chowder recipe that had edamame. Then I remembered I had a case of cans of coconut milk in the cupboard that could be a creamy base for any kind of soup. So I decided to make Any Kind of Soup. I’d roam the cupboards and fridge to suit my mood.
I started by dicing up a cup of ham. Deciding to make a small pot of soup, I put it into a large saucepan to sear it a little. I realized I needed some oil as it was sticking to the bottom of the pot. My handy olive oil flask on the stove was empty and I wasn’t in the mood to refill it from the large can. But I remembered I’d saved some bacon grease in the fridge in a small crock. Yes! Let’s add bacon flavor to the ham, and so the soup. Brilliant!
While I was in the fridge I roamed the drawers. I’m a drawer roaming kind of gal. Heh, I told you I was bored, I’m punny as well. I found a celery heart that needed to be used since I have a whole new bunch of celery as well. I found a bag of those mini colored sweet bell peppers that I never want to bother to chop up. Three more ingredients for my soup.
I chopped the celery and added it to my saucepan to saute then trimmed the little peppers and chopped them very finely. I added them to the pot as well. It was sputtering and smelling oh so delicious. I was less bored already!
The cupboard only yielded one can of corn. Drat. The freezer yielded no corn but lots of peas. I didn’t want peas. I had a bag of Brussels sprouts I mean to caramelize for dinner soon. Oh well, I added the whole can of corn to the pot. The liquid would further amp up the corn flavor.
I spooned in half of the can of coconut milk, mostly the thick cream at the top of the can and stirred the pot. It was lovely. I debated adding the rest of the coconut milk. Who needs leftover coconut milk sitting in the fridge? In it went.
Oh oh, the second cup or so of coconut milk made my soup a little too watery. I wanted a thick and robust soup, one you could almost eat with a fork. My eyes widened (dramatic moment) as I remembered I have a whole lot of Yukon gold potatoes (yellow like my corn soup!). They needed to be used before they start turning on me. I peeled two large and one smaller one and diced it finely. About the size of a kernel of corn, or a little larger. I wanted the potatoes to cook fast.
The pot was now filled with goodness. I let it come to a boil again then reduced it to medium low and set the timer for 10 minutes. I didn’t want them to burn onto the bottom because I forgot to check! I stirred each 10 minutes for 30 minutes, and the potatoes were finally done. I turned the heat off and let the soup rest and scent the house. That was not a boring scent!
The soup was creamy and so flavorful! I liked it just the way it was, and discarded the idea of putting a jar of sweet pickle relish in it. I might try that soup another time. This one turned out great, and my P.S. was tickled that I’d spent my afternoon productively. We won’t discuss how productive he was with guns.
Any Kind of Soup (Ham and Corn Chowder)
2 cups diced ham
1 tablespoon bacon grease or olive oil
½ cup sweet bell pepper; finely diced (I used 3 mini peppers)
¼ cup onion; diced finely (I used dried onion pieces as I was out of onion!)
½ cup celery; finely chopped (I used a celery heart, complete with leaves)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste (I used a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper)
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can coconut milk
2 ½ cups potatoes; finely diced (I used Yukon gold, white would be fine)
Sauté the ham, pepper, onion and celery in a large saucepan or small soup pot in the grease or oil over a medium high burner. Stir occasionally. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the celery is tender.
Add garlic powder, corn and its liquid and the can of coconut milk. Stir well. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add diced potatoes and let pot come to a boil, then reduce to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. Taste one last time for seasoning, adding to taste.