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Soul Food at Home

Soul Food at Home

Baby back ribs. Collard greens and kale. Cornbread biscuits. These soul food staples are experiencing a renaissance, even showing up on trendy restaurant menus. Next stop for these classic dishes? Your own kitchen! Here’s a crash course on trendy Southern cuisine—complete with must-try recipes.


1 Pick your protein

To prepare a soul food main, the first thing to put on your shopping list is pork. From chops to ham hocks, it’s a staple of Southern cooking.
Another go-to is poultry, including chicken and turkey, which are prepared whole or in pieces.

2 Get cooking!

For authentic flavour, choose a recipe that uses one of three traditional cooking techniques: slow-cooking, barbecuing or deep-frying.

Slow cooker
Slow-cooking is ideal for cuts of meat such as ham hocks or chitterlings (stomach liners) that are slowly cooked in broth to make them extremely tender.
BBQ
Barbecuing in soul food means a slow process that involves wood essences for smoking. Try it for baby back ribs, pulled pork shoulder or beef brisket for fall-off-the-bone results.
Fryer
Finally, no soul food meal is complete without something deep-fried—steaks, chicken, pork, vegetables, you name it. For a healthier update, use vegetable oil (canola or corn have a high enough smoke point) instead of classic lard.

Running low on time?

Skip the slow-cooking and look for spice profiles that fit the soul food profile, like Cajun Blackened Chicken or Bayou Back Ribs for a taste of the South in a jiffy.


3Standout sides

While meat-based dishes tend to dominate the soul food menu, you’d be remiss to underestimate the importance of a great side dish.

First stop? Veggies like collard, mustard and turnip greens, okra and sweet potatoes. Skip the ubiquitous kale chips or salad, and braise your greens with ham for a smoky, savoury side dish. Or bake up a batch of Sweet Potato Fries for a healthy and easy side.

Besides the traditional greens, try Chili Corn or Corn Muffins which are the ideal vehicle to mop up sauces and gravies. Tip: They are especially delicious when you throw in some cheddar or jalapeno peppers.

For a sweet finish to any Southern-inspired feast, bake up a cobbler which strikes the perfect balance of unfussy, seasonal (peaches are the gold standard, but almost any fruit will work) and delicious.

 



Soul food roots

Soul food excels at avoiding waste and making the most of modest ingredients. With spices and savvy cooking techniques, inexpensive cuts of meat and hearty vegetables are transformed into delicious dishes. The term “soul food” was first coined in the ‘60s, when many facets of African-American culture were labeled “soul”: music, food, etc. The cuisine is deeply rooted in Africa, as family recipes were adapted with ingredients locally available in the United States. In the South, it is often associated with a large potluck lunch held on Sunday afternoons after church

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