Soul food pasta! The flavor of this pasta entree is like a plate of southern home cooked food memories!
Half of my family heritage is from the south, so I am familiar with the flavors of southern cooking. Southern cooking is a meld of English, French, African and Native American cooking.
Many people refer to old fashioned southern farm food, country food and old southern African American cooking as soul food. Soul food is a culinary religious experience! The benefits of soul food from a health standpoint may depend on the individual. Cooking to make someone feel better and stronger is what soul food is all about. For a healthy person who has hard physical work to do, soul food is the best cuisine of all!
A dietary study was done many years ago on soul food. The findings of the study showed that the soul food cooking style and ingredients were very beneficial for building very strong muscle tone and tendon strength.
Professional athletes and body builders in the last fifty years have used illegal steroid substances to increase muscle mass and strength the easy way. In the peak years of of steroid usage, about 20 or 30 years ago, there was a world champion body builder who was very strong and he had great muscular definition. My memory is foggy on this, but that man won either the Mr Universe or Mr America title a few years in a row.
The giant soul food eating Afro American bodybuilder was at a news conference when a reporter asked if his secret to success came from illegal steroid usage. The huge man smiled with sparkling shiny gapped front teeth and he said "The secret to my success as a champion body builder is soul food!"
What he said was the truth! Soul food can put meat on anybody's bones. If you want a rock hard body and you want to look younger than your age, soul food is the cuisine to eat. You have to be active physically to gain from the benefits of soul food.
The rules of soul food are simple. No pre-made ingredients other than hot sauce and condiments. Nothing can be wasted. The stewing pot liquor is never wasted. Everything must be stewed till it is fully cooked. Simple seasonings are the only flavoring additives. All soul food must be cooked with comfort and easy to digest nutrition in mind. No expensive big city food items can be used. Only food from the farm or affordable down home ingredients can be used. The most important rule is that soul food must be cooked with loving care and pride!
This soul food pasta entree that I created today was one that I have given thought to for a few months. I wanted to create a great soul food pasta that had a nice contrast of some of the traditional ingredients of soul food southern cuisine. The techniques required to cook this pasta are southern in origin. Penne pasta is a pre-made item, but it is very affordable pasta, now that the penne pasta craze is in the past. A box of cheap penne pasta now costs less than a dollar, so it does qualify as a modern soul food ingredient.
Smoked Hog Jowl and Goat Southern Soul Penne Pasta Recipe:
Cook 1 portion of penne pasta in boiling water, till it becomes al dente.
Drain the water off of the pasta.
Cool the pasta under cold running water.
Drain the water off of the pasta.
Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil over the pasta, while tossing, so it does not stick together.
Set the pasta aside.
Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of chicken grease, pork lard or vegetable oil.
Place 4 thin slices of smoked hog jowl in the pan. (About 2 to 3 ounces.)
Gently saute the fatty jowl meat, so a little bit of grease renders in the pan.
Add three large bite size square cut pieces of goat meat. (About 4 to 5 ounces.)
Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
Let the onion cook, till it is caramelized to a light brown color. The fatty jowl meat and the goat meat should be caramelizing slightly at this point too.
Add 2 tablespoons more of chopped onion.
Saute till the second bunch of chopped onions become cooked clear in color.
Add 1 small chopped medium hot chili pepper. (A small serrano, cayenne, tabasco or carolina pepper is the perfect amount of spicy heat for this recipe. I used 1 small green serrano finger pepper. All that is needed is a mildly spicy chile pepper flavor in broth.)
Add 2 chopped green onions.
Allow the ingredients gently sizzle in the smoked hog jowl grease, till the newly added pepper and onion begins to caramelize.
Add 1 small handful of chopped mustard greens. (I chose mustard greens over collard greens for this recipe. Mustard greens are tasty soul food greens and they cook much faster than collard greens.)
Add enough light pork broth to almost cover the ingredients in the pan.
Add sea salt and black pepper. (Smoked hog jowl meat is not salty, so season this recipe with salt as you normally do.)
Add 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar.
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Slowly simmer, till the broth is nearly evaporated.
Add 1/3 cup of sliced okra.
Add 1 pinch of dried crushed red pepper.
Add 1/3 cup of cooked black eyed peas.
Add enough water to almost cover the ingredients.
Slowly simmer, till the broth is nearly evaporated and it has reduced to about 1/2 cup of rich tasting pot liquor.
Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
Add the reserved portion of al dente cooked penne rigate pasta.
Toss the pasta and the ingredients together in the pan.
Mound the pasta on a plate and try to expose the three pieces of goat meat on top of the pasta.
Make sure that enough of the pot liquor is on the plate with the soul pasta to serve as a thin sauce.
Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.
Serve with sliced white bread or corn bread on the side, for soaking up the excess pot liquor on the plate.
The flavor of this soul food pasta is very satisfying! The fatty smoked hog jowl pieces were for flavor and they can be eaten or simply left on the plate. Be sure to have some sliced white bread or corn bread at the table to soak up any pot liquor that is left on the plate. Nobody likes to waste good pot liquor! Pot liquor is loaded with nutrients.
This Soul Food Pasta is some real feel good food! The rush of strength that this pasta delivers to the body is exhilarating! Please pass the cornbread fried in chicken grease! ... Shawna