Category Archives: Soul Food

Recipe: BBQ Ribs

BBQ ribs hot from the oven
BBQ ribs hot from the oven

Ingredients;

1 portion BBQ rub
BBQ sauce
500ml apple juice
Cider vinegar
2 racks pork back ribs (approx 400g each)

Serves 2-4

Line

Start by getting a roasting tin large enough to hold both racks of ribs and adding the apple juice and a splash of Cider Vinegar to the tin. Next take a chopping board and sprinkle some of the BBQ rub on to it.

Now place the racks into the roasting tin and make sure they are well covered in the liquid. One at a time remove the racks and place them on your chopping board, sprinkle liberally with the BBQ rub until they are coated, massage the rub into the ribs, you should feel the rub start to feel more like a smooth paste, once the entire rack feels like this, wrap it in clingfilm, put it in the fridge and move onto the second rack.

Once both racks are rubbed, wrapped in clingfilm and in the fridge, pour the liquid from the roasting tin into a sealed container and store this, then do the dishes 😉 The racks will need to sit overnight before cooking.

The next day, take the racks out of the fridge at least an hour before you are ready to start cooking, this allows them to come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 130C.

Once the racks are up to room temperature, place them curved side up (think sad face) in your roasting tray and cook them for an hour and a half.

Remove them from the oven and turn them over (think happy face) now pour half the juice and vinegar mixture into each rack, don’t worry if it spills out the ends. Now either cover the roasting tray or wrap it in tin foil folding the ends over to make a sealed parcel around the tray. You can wrap each rack individually but I find it easier to handle when I just wrap the lot. Place back in the oven for another hour and a half. if you haven’t already made the BBQ sauce this is the perfect time to do it, although I would recommend having it ready in advance.

Once the time is up remove them from the oven, get rid of the foil and drain away the liquid. It’s easiest to remove the racks carefully (they will be quite tender and likely to fall apart) rather than to try to hold the racks while pouring the liquid away, or you could use a turkey baster to remove the liquid.

Put the ribs back on the tray (if you have removed them) and pop them back into the oven for about 15 minutes to dry out a little.

Once they’re dry remove them from the oven again and brush on the BBQ Sauce, generously, on both sides. Now pop them back into the oven for thirty minutes, so the sauce/glaze has time to set.

Depending on the mood you may like to serve each rack as a portion with a small salad and some coleslaw or split them in half with a larger salad to serve 4. Whichever way you decide to serve them, be aware that they will be incredibly tender so be careful when moving them.

Now sit back and enjoy, what is to me, the greatest of all soul food dishes.

Recipe: BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce
BBQ Sauce

Ingredients;


1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 fresh chillies, stalks and seeds removed
Olive oil

10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
10 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
Small bunch of fresh coriander
10 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
6 cloves
Zest of 2 oranges

Juice of 2 oranges
200g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Molasses
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
200ml tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons English mustard
200ml apple juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Line

Continuing on from the BBQ Rub last week we have the second crucial element for making great BBQ meat, the sauce! This recipe makes about 750ml of sauce so make sure you have a few glass bottles or jars available to sterilise and store it, unless you’re planning to use it all in two or three days. Why make such a large quantity? Easy, it takes just as long to make half the amount and you’ll want to have it again and again so why not make plenty to start with :)

There are a lot of ingredients so before you begin, take them all out and prep them, I find this helps me to make sure I don’t accidentally forget something.

To start, take your onion, garlic and chillies and blitz them together in a blender or food processor until you have a paste. Then take a pan add some olive oil and get it on to a low heat. Add the paste and fry it for about 5 minutes.

While that’s happening take your thyme, rosemary, coriander, bay leaves, cumin, fennel, paprika and cloves place them in your blender or food processor. Next add the orange zest, you don’t wan’t the pith (white bit) and blitz this to a purée.

Once the paste has had it’s five minutes add the purée and cook for another minute. Next add the sugar and molasses, stir them in well and continue to cook it for another few minutes until the sugar dissolves and you have a thick brown paste.

Now add 285ml of water stiring it in well and let it heat slowly for another two or three minutes. Now add all the remaining ingredients, stir it well and bring the lot to the boil. Now take a deep breath, turn the heat down a little and let it simmer for about five to ten minutes until the mixture starts to thicken a little.

Grab a large bowl and a sieve and pour the sauce through the sieve (depending on how thick it has gotten you may need to “encourage” it with the back of a spoon) into your bowl to filter out the larger bits, and throw away the bits left in the sieve. Repeat this process a couple of times until you’re left with a silky smooth looking sauce.

Leave it to cool completely. Then either, use it straight away like a glaze (just brush it over your meat of choice in the last few minutes of cooking) or pour it into your sterilised glass jars or bottles to stored for use later.

How do I sterilise glass jars or bottles?

The easiest way I’ve found is to fill the kitchen sink with boiling water from the kettle and submerge the jars/bottles and their lids in it for about ten minutes. Once you remove them add the sauce immediately and get the lids on tight.

Once they cool they can be stored in a cool dark place or the fridge. The sauce should keep for about six months.

Oh and just to keep it in perspective, this recipe should be enough to do about eight full racks of back ribs. But we’ll get into that more on Friday, so y’all come back now! :)

Recipe: “Blazing Saddles” Baked Beans

A Pot of Freshly made Baked Beans
Blazing Saddles Baked Beans

Ingredients;

4 whole onions finely sliced
1 heaped teaspoon of (smoked) paprika
3 fresh chillies finely diced
25g butter
3 x 400g tins of Pinto beans
3 x 400g tins of Cannellini beans
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
4 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper
White wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of molasses
Olive oil

Serves 8-10

Line

Hmmm Beanz meanz Heinz, except in this case it doesn’t :) We are all familiar with baked beans in tomato sauce and how wonderful they are as a side order with a fry up or on hot buttered toast, it’s so easy to open a tin of them and bung ’em in the microwave, that we take them for granted.

When I made this first I was surprised by just how convenient the tinned version is by comparison to making your own, but when I tasted my own for the first time, I knew the effort was worth it.

These are close to being the best baked beans I have ever tasted, unfortunately that honour still resides with a man who served me from a fire pit when I was in Utah about 9 years ago as I haven’t managed to get the sweetness the same. Don’t worry, if I discover his secret I’ll update the post and let you all know 😉

First up you’re going to need a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add a lug of olive oil and once it’s up to temperature, add your sliced onion and paprika, give them a good stir and fry them for 10 – 15 minutes or until the onions soften.

Next add the butter to the pan and once that has melted, add the tinned tomatoes, 5 of the cans of beans (including the liquid), the bay leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Next, drain the liquid from the last can of beans and discard it. Then add the beans to the pot along with the chilli.

Now stir and bring this to a gentle simmer and bring the heat down, you just want them to burble and blurp (a little) at you rather than boil. If they boil, the beans will split and you’ll end up with mush rather than beans 😉

Leave them for about an hour and a half stirring occasionally.

Now taste them and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add about a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, the molasses and stir well before serving or leaving them to cool and freezing them in portions.

These are great as a side dish with just about any meat and most fish, or used for the traditional beans on toast, or with a portion of boiled rice and a good ladle full of beans over the top.

Recipe: Just Peachy Chicken

Just Peachy Chicken with Mashed Potato and buttered corn
Just Peachy Chicken with Mashed Potato and buttered corn

Ingredients;

2 Chicken Breasts
1 Teaspoon of Lemon pepper
half a teaspoon of Salt
1 400g Can of Peaches
1 tablespoon of Lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of Soy sauce

Serves 2

Line

Peaches are always in plentiful supply in the southern US states so it’s no surprise that they’re in a lot of Soul Food recipes. This is a great tasting and easy to make dish. I love the way the Pepper on the chicken bounces off the peaches, it’s like a party on your taste buds :)

Oh and if you can’t find lemon pepper in the spices section of your super market it’s not that difficult to make from scratch. You can find instructions here.

Heat your oven to 180 C. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry with some kitchen roll. Place them in a baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon pepper and salt. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the lemon pepper mixture and let stand for at least 20 minutes or, even better, overnight in the fridge.

Drain the syrup from the peaches into a small bowl. Stir the lemon juice and soy sauce into the syrup and pour it over the chicken pieces.

Pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes and turn the chicken about half way through. Then add the peach slices and cook for another 10 -15 minutes or until the chicken is done.

This is great served with some Mashed Potatoes and a lightly buttered corn on the cob. Oh and I almost forgot here’s a great track to play in the background while cooking this recipe…

Recipe: Memphis Soul Stew

Hahaa April Fool! :)

Obvious? maybe a little but what the heck, this track also acts as an introduction to the next month’s recipes.

In case you haven’t made the connection yet, I’m diving into the world of Soul Food. A style of cooking most associated with the American deep south, however it is, what I like to call, a hybrid cuisine whose roots can be traced to Africa, the southern Indian tribes and even has hints of the Cajun and Creole styles.

It’s also a style that “inspired” a lot of junk food, think deep fried chicken and fish, in particular. So you’d be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t really sit right on a site called Not Junk Food, but you’d be wrong. With a little care in the ingredients and the cooking, even deep fried food can be part of a healthy balanced diet. That said, these recipes are (mostly) best kept as treats and for special occasions.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of Soul Food I’d strongly recommend this Wikipedia article. Either way, I’ll be posting some of my thoughts and memories of Soul Food over the next few weeks.