Soul Food is a historic tradition amongst the African-American community on New Year’s Day. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. Collard, turnip, mustard greens and golden cornbread are also good luck. Eating soul food at 12:00am on New Year’s Eve brings luck. It is often said “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”
Soul Food is a familiar term used for food traditionally prepared and eaten by African-Americans in the United States. Many of the various dishes and ingredients included in “soul food” are part of our Southern US history. The style of cooking originated during American slavery. African slaves were given only the “leftover” and “undesirable” cuts of meat from their masters (while the white slave owners got the meatiest cuts). Despite the “leftover” ingredients, southern whites have grown to love soul food as well.
Soul Food also represents the comfort of lovingly prepared, good food and the gathering of family and friends.
Today when preparing soul food, we use healthier ingredients for seasoning. Instead of “fatback” or “pork fat” we use smoked turkey or sausage. So in the coming days, bring a little luck to your humble abode, and indulge in the historically prepared comfort of Soul Food. Here are a few of my recipes to try:
Nothing goes better with collard greens than a pot of southern black-eyed peas.
The black-eyed pea, also known as the cow pea, is thought to have originated in North Africa, where it has been eaten for centuries. It may have been introduced into India as long as 3,000 years ago, and was also a staple of Greek and Roman diets. The peas were probably introduced to the New World by Spanish explorers and African slaves, and have become a common food in the southern United States, where they are available dried, fresh, canned, and frozen. The flavorful peas are used to make soups, salads, fritters, and casseroles; they can also be puréed; or sprouted (courtesy of About.com)
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 (16 oz) bags of dry frozen eyed peas
Smoked Turkey Wing or leg
6-8 cups of chicken broth (or enough to cover the beans)
Red pepper flakes, black pepper (optional)
Chop onions & garlic.
In a large pot, add in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until tender.
Add in the turkey wing, black eye peas, & chicken broth
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until black-eyed peas are tender.
Add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper if desired.