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The Recipe of the Week from the Happy Chef: Elwood’s Ham Chowder

When you look up the word “royalty” in the dictionary it mostly says this…the rank, status, or power of a king or queen; royal position, dignity, etc.; sovereignty. Notice how many of the terms imply being placed above others – 1st in rank, high status, powerful position. Royal kings and queens from long ago were certainly concerned with those terms but Jesus who is the most royal of all was not. On Wednesdays at my church the children participate in a program called Kids Kirk. They eat dinner at the church as a part of this program. The dinner is served on good china because the belief is held that these children (like all of us) are royalty, God’s chosen people, loved by Him, served by Him and asked by Him to serve others. Royalty becomes completely different from the definition in the dictionary when it is looked at in this way. Believing we are royal is to believe that others and ourselves are extraordinary, watched and loved by God since the day we were formed. During this season I like to think of Jesus and His princely ways. I imagine Jesus smiled a lot and I bet He laughed easily. I bet when someone dropped something he instantly went to pick it up. I bet when someone went to reach for more bread He said, “Let me get that for you.” I bet he had an easy way about Him that made people feel so comfortable around him. Jesus’ followers did not have to sound the trumpets and harps when He entered a room because He already resonated within them. He himself was and is the trumpets and harps – He is royalty of Spirit. And He wants us to know and believe that we are as well. As I give thanks and serve others this Thanksgiving I hope to remember this and know who it is I am serving.

I found this recipe when I was looking up Thanksgiving recipes online but it actually comes from my sister-in-law, Lucinda’s brother Donald Barickman! (Small world, eh?) Don owns 3 wonderful restaurants in Charleston, SC. He created this recipe with and named it after his father Elwood Barickman. Woody (as he was known to all) passed away last spring. He was a giving and humble man – a royal spirit. It is a great joy to honor him in the Happy Chef!

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound Virginia ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

4 garlic cloves, thiny sliced

2 bunches collard greens (about 1 pound), stems discarded, washed, and roughly chopped

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes with juice, roughly chopped

7 cups homemade or low sodium canned chicken stock

2 cups homemade or low-sodium canned beef stock

8 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Hot-pepper sauce, such as Tobasco (optional)

-Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add ham, and cook until it starts to release juices, about 2 minutes; do not brown. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

-Working in batches, if necessary, so as not to overcrowd pot, cook collard greens, tossing frequently with tongs until thoroughly wilted. Add tomatoes and juice, chicken and beef stocks, potatoes, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cook, stirring and skimming any foam from surface occasionally, until potatoes are easily pierced with a paring knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt, black pepper, and hot-pepper sauce, as desired. Serve hot.

By Leigh Sackett
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