I have had the opportunity to share with you about the festival of Kwanzaa With it being a tradition to celebrate heritage. Sadly, many years ago there was a time in the lives of African Americans where slavery was every day life. Embracing history also means taking a look at what was brought out of that life. One of the best things that we now have is soul food and it is often dined on during the holiday of Kwanza.
Soul food comes from a legacy of slavery and is now a much prized industry. There are restaurants, videos, books, television shows, and cooks that are dedicated to the world of soul food. Soul food started out as a treasure passed along African Americans and has become an American treasure. Soul food recipes have been passed through 300 years from generation to generation. The recipes, manner of cooking and seasonings all make up delicious soul food.
How it was that vegetables that were popular in Africa arrived in America is still a mystery. Vegetables such as okra, black eyed peas, watermelon, yams and many green leafed vegetables were vegetables that came from the continent of Africa and are all very much a staple of soul food cooking.
Work on the southern plantations made for sweltering days. The labor was long and hard. The food to support the workers had to be cheap, filling and offer enough energy for the long hot day. Soul food was the perfect thing to provide for these needs. The soul food offered a healthier diet that made it possible for the slaves to get through the long day.
6 to 8 servings
recipe source here
Salt pork, chopped finely -- 2 to 3 tablespoons
Onion, minced -- 1
Rice -- 1 1/2 cups
Water or stock -- 3 cups
Black-eyed peas, cooked, drained and rinsed -- 2 cups
Ham hock -- 1
Bay leaf -- 1
Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
Salt and pepper -- to taste
Heat the salt pork in a large pot over medium heat and cook until it renders its fat and becomes a little crispy. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in the rice and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and let simmer for 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove from heat and let rest, covered, another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with bottled hot sauce for seasoning.
- Vegetarian Version: Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in place of the salt pork and eliminate the ham hock.
- Many recipes call for chopped bacon instead of salt pork.
- Instead of the ham hock, substitute 1 1/2 cups of cubed ham or chopped sausages if you like.
- Some recipes call for the rice and beans to be cooked separately, then mixed together at the end.