Friday, May 24, 2024

Food for the Soul: Soul Food and Black History Month

February 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Food

Pan Fried Chicken and Blackeye Pea Salsa
February is for love, and love for black history has made the month equally synonymous with the celebration of African-American achievement. Internationally recognized and multifaceted, Black History Month dates to the 1920s, believed by many to stand in tribute to the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Food for Black History Month can include ancestral African delicacies, dishes derived from the diets of American slaves and newer recipes contributed by the multitude of black cultures across the world.
“Soul food” is its own specialty cuisine, widely enjoyed by African-Americans as an enduring link to their heritage. It has deep roots in slavery (where survival-focused eating produced such dietary staples as johnnycake and cornbread, beans, stews made with gristle and fat, and “unwanted” vegetables like mustard and collard greens), but now includes an array of foods that would have been unthinkable luxuries in that era: butter, jam, buttermilk, white flour, fine cuts of meat and fish. Fried chicken, cornbread, cooked vegetables, grits, bacon and sausage, biscuits and gravy and hush puppies are essential to the cuisine, as is the uniquely Southern specialty of expertly barbecuing chicken, pork, beef and ribs of every kind.
Enjoy Chef Bev’s Pan Fried Chicken Thigh on a bed of Blackeye Pea and Tomato Salsa. It is an upscale, gourmet Black History Month entrée, using familiar ingredients with a twist. Bon appetit!

Blackeye Pea Salsa
Serves 6

1 cup of cooked blackeye peas, cooled
½ red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped small
1 green pepper, chopped small
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup corn
3-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar plus more if needed
Juice from one lemon
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
Pinch red pepper flake
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat and taste to readjust seasoning.

Pan Fried Chicken
Serves 4

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated onion powder
Canola oil for frying
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast clean and patted dry
½ cup season flour for dredging
(salt & pepper)

In a small mixing bowl combine the first 4 spices mixing well. Set aside. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottom skillet. While the oil comes to temperature, season the chicken on both sides and coat in the season flour shaking off any excess. Place chicken on a plate until oil is hot. Place chicken in oil skin side down and cook until golden brown on each side. This should take about 4 minutes per side. Once chicken is golden brown place in oven to keep warm.

Beverly Lee Local Private Chef & Culinary Instructor • (702) 232-5430

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