Have you ever encountered the terms “soul food” or “soul music” or “soul brother”? This vocabulary stems from African-American culture and refers to food or music that represents black culture. The concept of soul food means that you can make anything delicious with whatever ingredients that you have on hand.
Soul food is also different from Southern food. Although all soul food is considered Southern food, the same cannot be said of Southern food. As you will notice, most African-Americans reside in the South and have inspired Southern cooking. The main difference with the two is that soul food is more intense than Southern food.
National Soul Food Month
Since June is National Soul Food Month, I decided to compile some easy recipes to share with you. Typical soul food consists of a main entreé of fried or smothered chicken, pork, or fish. Side dishes such as peas, candied yams, mac and cheese, or leafy greens accompany the main entreé. A red drink, cornbread, and dessert completes the meal.
So while you’re listening to some “soul music” by Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, or Erykah Bau, enjoy delicious soul food dishes that you can prepare at home.
Soul Food Recipes to Make at Home
Although traditional soul food is better in restaurants, you can easily make them in the comforts of your own home. Some people say that soul food is unhealthy though since it is mostly greasy and sweet. The healthier option is to cook them in the oven using your roasting rack.
Here are some of the soul food recipes that you should definitely try at home:
Black Eyed Peas
Soul food-style veggies that spice up your meal!
- 1 pound of dried black-eyed or other field peas
- 1 smoked ham hock or smoked turkey wing (about 8 ounces)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Salt, to taste
Step by Step:
- Wash the peas well and remove any broken peas or small stones.
- In a large saucepan, pour the peas and pour about 2 inches of water; just enough to cover the peas.
- Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, covered.
- Remove from heat and let it stand for an hour.
- In another large saucepan, prepare the stock by placing a ham hock or a turkey wing with about 2 inches of water.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for an hour. Remove the hock or wing. You can remove the meat from the hock or turkey wing, shred them and add it to the dish later on.
- Drain the cooked black eyed peas and add to the stock. Make sure that the peas are fully submerged. Add the onion and red pepper flakes.
- Simmer for 30 minutes until the peas are tender. Season with salt and simmer for about 10 minutes more. At this point, you can add the shredded meat before serving.
Southern Fried Chicken
For a healthier option, we will “air fry” the chicken in the oven! Bring out your roasting rack and start cooking!
- 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ⅓ cup butter
Step by Step:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Wash the chicken pieces and dry well with a paper towel.
- In a large plate, combine all the dry ingredients.
- Coat each chicken piece with the flour mixture.
- Melt the butter and pour it on a baking pan.
- Arrange the chicken pieces,skin side down, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Flip the chicken pieces and bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Transfer the chicken pieces to a roasting rack to drain any excess butter or oil.
Sweet Potato Pie
Top off that delicious meal with dessert!
- 1 (1 pound) sweet potato
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Step by Step:
- In a large saucepan, boil the sweet potatoes, skin on, for 40-50 minutes or until tender.
- Once cooked, rinse under cold water and peel off the skin.
- In a large bowl, mash the sweet potato. Add butter and mix it with a mixer. TIP: You can also use your roasting rack and press the mashed potatoes on the tight-grid to break it down.
- Add the sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
- Prepare a pie crust and pour the filling.
- Bake for 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes. You can also check if pie is cooked by pricking a knife or toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the pie is ready.
- Let the pie cool in a cooling rack. It looks puffed up after baking but sinks as it cools.
Food for the Soul
This delicious meal is definitely food for the soul! Weekends would be the perfect time to prepare this meal so you will have lots of time to prepare. What’s great about soul food is that the ingredients are easy to find.
Hope you enjoy these recipes! Leave us a comment once you’ve tried them!