1Preheat oven and follow package directions for oven-baking the tater tots. Be baking them as you prepare the chowder.
2Chop bacon into large pieces and fry them over Medium heat in the pot you're going to cook the chowder in. (I use a Dutch Oven.) Once bacon starts to get crispy edges, add the onion. (Sprinkle salt on the onion to bring out the moisture.) Stir occasionally.
3Chop asparagus and set aside. When onions become transparent, deglaze the pan with a touch of the chicken stock to get all the yummy bits off the bottom of your pan/pot.
4Add asparagus pieces and stir fry for about 1-2 mins. SEASON. (Always season with salt and pepper as you go along to layer the flavours.)
5Add cubed ham and stir. Let these ingredients cook together while slicing your mushrooms. Add mushrooms and stir together.
6Pour in the chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil.
7Add corn and green onions. Reduce heat and boil lightly for 5 minutes, covered.
8Stir in Cream of Chicken soup and sour cream until completely combined with no lumps. Then, add the milk or half & half. Stir.
9Reduce heat again to very low, cover, and allow to lightly simmer while the tater tots finish baking. If the tots are already done, simmer chowder for about 10 minutes anyway.
10Allow tots to cool enough to be handled. Break them in half and add them to the chowder.
11Serving suggestion: Serve with corn bread and top each bowl with a sprig of fresh herb, such as: parsley, thyme, rosemary or dill.