Soul food

Last night is was Mac and Cheese. Tonight I made Red Beans and Rice/Sausage. The Food Channel was doing a show on Southern cooking. I’d sell my mother to the infidels right now for a chicken-fried steak plate like I would get in Fort Worth. Or maybe a mess of collards like I’d get in Atlanta. For a pasty white boy, I sure do love soul food!

Anybody feel like sharing some recipes? Or favorite restauants of this persuasion?

Please? I’ll share my cornbread recipe if you do. :smiley:

Probably, but you’re in the wrong forum for food talk. You’ll do better in Cafe Society. I let a mod know so you’ll get moved and probably get lots of responses.

Soul food isn’t an ethnic cuisine, it’s working class fare. I’m as white as you are and grew up eating the stuff.

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

Just thought I’d mention that Glory Brand canned Collard Greens are freakin’ awesome. Great likker, even.

Glory has a superior and absolutely authentic line of Soul Food. If you don’t have time to make it from scratch, they have the solution.

Here’s my guidelines for chicken fried steak:

Chicken Fried Steak

Round steak (all visible fat removed)
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Poultry seasoning
Fat of some sort (preferably butter)

Note on measurements: I rarely measure. I use about half a pound of steak per person, and it ALL gets eaten up.

Note on fat: I use enough to cover the bottom of the skillet to a depth of about 1/8 inch, and add more as I need it.

Slice onions and mushrooms. Fry in fat, remove, drain on paper towels, set aside.

Mix flour, seasoned salt, and poultry seasoning. Use enough seasoning that the flour is sort of a light orangy-grey. Cut steak into small bite sized pieces. Pound with meat tenderizer (the utensil, not the enzyme) until QUITE thin. Dredge in seasoned flour, let rest, dredge again. Fry in hot fat, a few at a time, keeping a very close watch on the pieces. Turn once They will cook very quickly, due to being thin. Remove cooked pieces, keep warm, add new pieces until all the steak is cooked.

Make cream gravy from leftover flour and fat.

VERY good with mashed potatoes. I also suggest mixed salad greens and green beans as sides, and sweet ice tea for a beverage. I try to avoid serving another starchy veggie with this meal, as it already has quite enough carbs in it, but peas would go well with it too.

I cannot eat much black pepper at all. I imagine most people would like several grinds of pepper in the flour mix along with the other seasoning.

In our house, this dish is known as “Smashed Steak and Potatoes”, because my daughter used to think that I was smashing the steak when I was tenderizing it, and because I always, ALWAYS serve mashed potatoes with this steak.

Oh, we’ve had many, many threads on soul food over the years…and I think the consensus has been that “soul food” is actually “an economical regional cuisine based in the Southeastern U.S.” rather than anything specific to a race or ethnicity. See Ernest Mickler’s White Trash Cooking for as fine a compendium of recipes as any African-American cookbook. (BTW, my favorite of these is Jessica Harris’ The Welcome Table.)

I’m not only a pasty-faced white boy but about as Yankee as they come – born in Cleveland, schooled in New England, living in Brooklyn – and I love cooking this stuff. Red beans, black-eyed peas, butter beans; pan-fried chicken and freshwater fish and pork chops; greens of every type; gumbos and jambalayas and brunswick stews and burgoos. And with everything, a big helping of skillet cornbread.

Get out your well-seasoned 8-inch cast-iron skillet. Put a tablespoon of two of grease in it (bacon is best, but peanut oil works fine) and preheat your oven to 425.

In a bowl, whisk together

1 cup stoneground corn meal (white is traditional!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper (optional)

Pour 3/4 cup of buttermilk into a measuring cup, crack in a large egg and beat together.

Put the pan into the hot oven and wait five minutes (you want to preheat it to get that nice crust). About four minutes along, beat the wet ingredients into the dry with a spatula. Don’t overmix.

Take your pan out, swirl the hot fat around to grease the entire inside, and scrape in your batter. It should sizzle.

Pan back in oven. Twenty minutes. Flip pan over and cornbread should drop out onto the waiting plate, golden, fragrant, beautiful. Serve hot with good butter.

<hijack and minor rant>

Dammit, why does soul food only come in one variety?

I spent an eternity in Hell. (Well, okay five years in the South during my Navy days. The Navy was part of it, but so were the culture differences. And this is not to say that any of our Dopers from the South are demons or anything.) During this time I started going absolutely nuts wanting what I began to call “Jewish Soul Food.” I wanted bagels. I wanted good bagels. Bagels like one could get from H&H on 80th Street in Manhattan.

I wanted lox.

I wanted New England Boiled Dinner. (Not precisely Jewish, but I know of no reason that it couldn’t be made Kosher. Besides, this was MY phrase, so I was defining it as anything I was beginning to need, to keep me in touch with my roots.) I remember going rhapsodic about boiled cabbage one night, when the mess decks did serve it. And people were giving me odd looks, for some reason. (I can’t imagine why…)

I dreamed about pierogies.

I lusted after spetzle and saurkraut.

Why the heck can’t this be Soul Food, too?

It sure seemed to serve the same need that your soul food meets.

<hijack and rant off>

It seems obvious to me that Lynn did not pass the Chicken Fried Steak part of the Administrator Admissions Test. Chicken fried steak made with round steak and butter? Why that’s a travesty on a plate! Cubed steak and bacon fat are the only way to go. And no eggs? Where are the eggs in the coating? How can you get that chicken batter look and taste without the eggs?

Beyond her chicken fried steak deficiencies, I’m sure Lynn is a wonderful Administrator who would never, ever use her vast and expansive administrative powers to cause harm to a mere poster just because a poster called attention to such a grievous mistake as the

God but that sounds good. I could eat the whole pan. Too bad I don’t cook much or I’d DO this suckah.

Thank you for reporting it, picunurse. The whole “can’t report your own post” bit can be a pain at times. :smiley:

Ike, I’m going to try your cornbread recipe tonight. It is similar to mine, but just enough different to be worth pursuing. Although to be truthful, a lot of the time I corrupt mine with cheese, ortegas, bacon, and other such mix-ins.

OtakuLoki, I hear you. The wife and I are making a side trip to NYC this summer just so I can get my fill (temporarily) of good deli food. Then we will zip up to the Pacific Northwest, where I will introduce her to the pierogies at a little Ukrainian deli in Vancouver, BC.

Biggirl, I think Lynn varies from the catholic more by cutting her steak into pieces before frying than she does by skipping the egg wash. Otherwise I agree with you. Yum…chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy and a mess of greens sounds wonderful right now!

devilsknew, I am going to trust your tastebuds and order a CARE package from Glory Brands. Some collards, some black-eyed peas, candied yams and maybe a bottle of their hot sauce for the collection. Thanks!

I’ll second the Glory-brand collard greens. Damn, are they good. They have prepared frozen meals too, at least in supermarkets around Florida.

I’m a pretty huge barbecue fan, and once, while randomly driving around Ft. Lauderdale (being lost), I stumbled upon a wonderful soul food restaurant, just a hole-in-the-wall in a seedy little strip mall. I had the best barbecue pulled pork I’ve ever had outside of Memphis, and it came with garlic Texas toast, homemade potato salad, flawless collard greens, AND macaroni and cheese (for under $6)! (Plus they had a variety of fruit-flavored sodas even I had never heard of – I chose pineapple.) I don’t know where I was and I forgot the name of the place, but I wish I could remember. They had black AND white people working in the kitchen making fried chicken and other soul food favorites, and that stuff is too hard to come by around here.

silenus. On the Glory home page it says in Calif. that you can get their stuff at

Food 4 Less
Nugget Market (Sacramento)
Superior Super Warehouse
Vons (Select Stores)

Of course, it might be easier to just order online. Just thought I let you know about the option.

Thanks, Sam! There’s a Food 4 Less over near my Mom’s place. I’ll drop by today and see what they carry.

Generally we don’t have any bacon grease around. Not because we don’t like it, but because we tend to fry up our potatoes in it. We are weak and sinful, and we do love our potatoes fried in bacon grease.

I don’t use eggs, but others may, if they wish. I started using round steak because that was what was available at the commissary. I’ve tried cubed steak, and my husband and daughter and I all prefer the tenderized round steak. I pound it very thin indeed, and it just melts in the mouth. I admit, though, that all that tenderizing takes quite a bit of time.

My husband frequently requests “Smashed steak and taters” for a treat meal, such as his birthday, even though we can afford more expensive steak now.

>> Aesiron and Askia bump into each other in the street. <<

Askia: Hey, man – you got working class fare all up in my ethnic food!

Aesiron: Yeah? You got ethnic food in my working class fare!