Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vegetarian Soul Food...You Kidding?

Vegetarian and Soul Food?  Now is that an oxymoron or what?  I just could not believe it.  Now I can see vegetables as a central part of the soul food diet, but no meat.  I had issues with that. 

While discussing soul food with a colleague, she mentioned the book, Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry.  I had heard of the book, but did not pay a lot of attention to it.  After all, vegan and soul food do not go together, at least not in my mind.  I always tell my students to keep an open mind and try new things.  Be careful of what you tell students.

I decided to give this book a try.  I was skeptical, very skeptical.  Upon examining the book, I found a few recipes that sounded interesting.  One was Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux.  My colleague assured me this was a good recipe.  Since she has good taste, I decided to try this recipe first. If she was wrong, I basically would loose a little time and some good collard greens would be lost. 

To say that I was surprised at how good these collards tasted, is an understatement.  They knocked my socks off.  They are a touch sweet, with none of the bitterness typically found in brassica vegetables.  I used freshly squeezed orange juice.  I think you need freshly squeezed with this recipe.
This recipe most definitely will be made again at my house. 

Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux

Serves 4 to 6.


Coarse sea salt
2 bunches collard greens
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice


1.  To prepare the collards, start by removing the large rib from the center.  Lay several leaves together.  Roll up and cut into a chiffonade. 

2.  In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add one tablespoon salt.  Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened.  Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.

3.  Remove the collards from the heat, drain, and plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens.  Drain and set aside.

4.  In a large saute pan, combine the olive oil and the garlic and raise the heat to medium.  Saute for one minute.  Add the collards and salt; stir to combine.  Sprinkle raisins on top and cover to allow raisins to soften, about 3 minutes.

5.  Add orange juice and cook for an additional minute or so.  Do not overcook.  Collards should still be bright green.

If you have a favorite soul food recipe that you have altered, we'd like to hear about it.

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