It's hard to believe that 2020 is more than halfway over. Here we are in July for another installment of our #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge.
Typically, Evelyne announces a country from which we are supposed to pick a recipe. But this month, she extended this challenge: "For July we will not visit a country’s cuisine, but rather a type of cuisine found in the US, one whose people are once again fighting for basic respectful treatment. Maybe we can all find a form of comfort in Soul Food this month!"
Yes! I was in immediately. There is so much racial tension and strife in the country right now. It's exhausting to have these conversations day in and day out, around our dinner table, but it's also necessary. Jake and I want our boys to be informed, be sensitive, be cautious, and be proactive.
I don't typically get political on my blog, but in this case I will: Since 45 - that's as close as I will come to naming him - took office, I feel that racism and bigotry have become normalized. In as many weeks we have had two racially fueled incidents in local restaurants here on California's central coast. Racists and bigots feel empowered to be wide out in the open. Why not? The leader of the free world is. Ugh. And it's tragic; I feel we've gone backwards at least fifty years in race relations.
So that brings us to the theme of this month's #EattheWorld: soul food. Here's the line-up...
- Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Food to Soothe the Soul
- Making Miracles: Sylvia's Sweet and Sticky Baked Chicken Wings
- Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce
- Kitchen Frau: Smothered Pork Chops
- A Day in the Life on the Farm: Red Beans and Rice
- Palatable Pastime: Smoked Rib Tips with Sweet Baby Molasses Sauce
- Sneha’s Recipe: Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burritos
- CulturEatz: Savannah Red Rice
The reason I chose this recipe is two fold: first, it's a riff on Southern collard greens; and second, my son grew these. His garden has been a soothing influence as we're entering our eighteenth week of being sheltered in place. He finds gardening to be calming. And I love to eat from the garden. It's a win for both of us!
- 2 pounds greens, washed and chopped or torn (traditional would be collard greens, I used a mixture of chard and kale from our garden)
- 1/4 cup diced bacon
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 1/2 cup onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon organic dark brown sugar, plus more to taste
- pinch of red pepper chile flakes
- 3 cups stock or broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
- splash of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
In a large lidded pot or Dutch oven, heat oil and stir in diced bacon. Cook until the fat is rendered and the meat is beginning to turn brown. Stir in the onions and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Fold in the greens and toss in the bacon grease until glossy. Add in the salt, pepper, and brown sugar, and red pepper chile flakes.
Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 90 minutes until the greens are tender. Season with a splash of vinegar and serve immediately.
Sweet 'n' Smoky Oven-Roasted Ribs
- 1 rack of pork baby back ribs
- Also needed: foil, baking sheet, barbecue sauce
Sweet 'n' Smoky Spice Rub
- 1 cup organic dark brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
The night before, or first thing in the morning, prepare the rub. Combine all ingredients, and mix thoroughly until well blended. Coat the ribs. Remove the ribs from their packaging. Rinse and pat them dry. With your hands, pat the rub onto both sides of the ribs, going heavier on the meaty side. Refrigerate for as many hours as you can; I ended up leaving them for 8 hours.
Right before you want to cook them, preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven heats, take the ribs out of the refrigerator to warm up.
To roast, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and place them - meat side up - on a sheet pan and put them in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 3 hours.
Reduce the heat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for another 2 to 3 hours. The longer you cook them, the more tender they will be.
Gently unwrap the ribs and paint them with a thin coat of barbecue sauce. Return them to the oven - raise the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit - for 10 minutes or so. The sauce will begin to char.
Remove the ribs from the oven, place them on a cutting board, and chop them into individual servings (the meat should almost be falling off the bone at this point, so this will be easy). Serve with more barbecue sauce and loads of napkins because eating ribs is a messy endeavor. Enjoy!
I did also make smothered chicken and hot water cornbread. Those recipes will be coming to the blog soon.
But, for now, that's a wrap for the #EattheWorld soul food adventure. Stay tuned for next month's pick. Evelyne will let us know in a couple of days where we're heading.