An easy (one pot) creamy ham and corn chowder perfect for holiday entertaining or using up that leftover holiday ham!
Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to a large dutch oven over high heat. Add in the chopped ham and sauté for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate. Quickly rinse out the pot and return to the stovetop.
Place that dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and once shimmering, add the diced onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add in the garlic and stir for another minute.
Add the butter and once melted, whisk in the flour. Pour 1 cup of milk in and whisk until it starts to thicken (~1 minute) and then pour the remaining two cups of milk in. Whisk until it thickens (~2-3 minutes) and then add in the chicken stock. Whisk until slightly thickened (another ~1-2 minutes).
Bring the soup to a boil, slightly lower the heat and then add the potatoes into the soup. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes whisking pretty regularly. The soup will thicken as it cooks and the potatoes should be fork tender around 10 minutes. (If the soup has thickened too much, feel free to add in additional chicken stock) Add in the dried thyme, dried oregano, ground cayenne pepper if desired, and salt + pepper to taste (I add about 1/2 teaspoon of each).
Once the potatoes are fork tender, stir in the drained corn and the ham you set aside earlier. Heat through. Taste for additional seasonings (salt + pepper) and then add in the grated cheddar cheese. Stir until just melted and then taste again for seasonings.
Serve with fresh thyme or parsley if desired. (If the soup is too thick feel free to add in a bit more milk or stock)