Soul Food Recipes

Chicken Roll Me Ups (*Amberley)

Sweet Potato Recipes (*Amberley)

The Story of Soul Food

Sweet Corn with Mixed Bean Salad

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup

Sour Cream Dressing

Momma's Meat Jambalaya


Momma Cherri's Southern Fried and Cajun Chicken with Lime Jerk Seasoning

Key Lime Pie

Chicken Roll Me Ups
(as cooked at the Amberley heritage festival)

These are a great way to turn a simple chicken breast into something quite
special. They are great to eat for your supper or make a stunning starter.

What you need to begin
4 Boneless Chicken breasts

Place fillets into freezer/sandwich bags and using a meat mallet, bottle, or
rolling pin pound meat until flat. Place aside. Now move on to creating your fillings.
Once you have decided on the filling, place on top of flatten breasts and gently roll up.
Place into a hot frying pan and cook for at least 8 minutes, turning to ensure all sides
and the centre is cooked. Remove from pan when cooked and leave to rest for about
5-10 minutes then cut into thin slices. The chicken will resemble pinwheels.

Spicy Jerk seasoning
125g Parsley
50g Coriander
handful Spring onion
½ Scotch bonnet chilli
1 lime, skinned and cut in half
50g Olive oil
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Garlic mushrooms
125g Mushrooms sliced
1 Garlic chopped
½ Onions chopped
50g Corriander
1 teaspoon butter

Meat fillings
6 pieces Sliced chorizo
6 Parma ham/ cured ham

Bread crumbs
Cajun seasoning

Ode to the Sweet potato

In 1543 DeSoto's Spanish explorers found sweet potatoes growing in "Indian gardens" in what became Louisiana. The sweet potatoes were also cultivated in the Carolina area of North America before the European colonization.
In Colonial days sweet potatoes were an item of trade and were shipped from the Carolinas out to northern cities. The potato was an essential food for all the colonies in the days before modern means of preservation.
This root crop kept hunger from the doors of many generations of our ancestors. During the trying times of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars it was a staple food.
A Colonial physician recommended sweet potatoes especially for children because of the sweet potatoes' value in combating childhood nutritional diseases.

Candied sweet potatoes
Par boil sweet potatoes
In a shallow pan combine the following
Brown sugar

Cajun sweet potatoes
Parboil sliced potatoes
Olive oil
Add Cajun spice to a frying pan and gently fry the sweet potato for about 1minute
top with sour cream dip

Sour cream dip
Sour cream
Sea salt
Spring onions

Sweet potato crisps
Peel sweet potatoes and pat dry the peelings
Vegetable oil for frying

Sweet potato mash
Boiled sweet potatoes
Milk or cream
Salt / pepper

The Story of Soul Food

As the scent of fried chicken, black-eyed peas, greens, and simmering cabbage hit the air, you have all the fixings for a soul food meal - a popular American cuisine usually linked to the African American community in the South. While the term, "soul food," has ties to the Civil Rights Movement of the mid 1960s, the origins of dishes, foods, and ingredients of this type of cuisine has a past that starts at the beginning of the 14th century.

In America, the African slaves began to cook with new kinds of greens (collards, mustard, and kale), turnips, beets, and even dandelions. The slaves were also given pig's feet, beef tongue, ham hocks, chitterlings, pig ears, and tripe to cook with, as they were considered the unwanted meat products of the pig and cow. To flavor their recipes, they added garlic, thyme, onions, and bay leaves.

Early soul food recipes also included wild game, rabbit, and raccoon that they caught on their own.
Once slaves became cooks within the plantation houses, soul food traditions evolved. In an instant, southern cooking transformed, as fried chicken, boiled white potatoes, and sweet potatoes were commonly seen on the dinner table. Puddings and pies utilized regional ingredients, such as berries, apples, peaches, and nuts. Traditional soul food saw leftover fish turn into "croquettes; stale bread become bread pudding; and the liquid of cooked greens transform into gravy.

Early soul food recipes also highlighted individual delicacies centered on every part of the pig.
Although this deeply rooted cooking tradition has roots in the South, at least one soul food eatery is found in every African American community and beyond throughout the United States. High concentrations of soul food restaurants are often found in cities, such as Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Charleston, and St. Louis.

Throughout the years, an assortment of typical soul food dishes and ingredients have become commonplace in the United States. Country-fried steak (chicken fried steak) is deep-fried battered beef often served with white gravy. This entrée joins a host of batter-fried entrees frequently prepared in soul food, such as chicken gizzards, chicken livers, catfish, and hog intestines (chitterlings). Pork and beef ribs, meatloaf, and oxtail soup are also popular main courses.
As for side dishes, soul food offers field peas, okra, butter beans, and sweet potatoes that are often made into "candied yams."

Biscuits play an important role, as they are used to soak up or "sop" liquids and often accompany gravy dishes. Cornbread, hushpuppies, and sweet bread with molasses are also typical trimmings of a meal. Additional soul food selections include grits for breakfast, macaroni and cheese, rice pudding, and the addicting appeal of a fresh pitcher of sweet tea.
Soul Food is enjoyed by many cultures and has evolved as a cuisine known for great southern food.


Sweet Corn with Mixed Bean Salad

2 cans of sweetcorn
225g cooked black-eyed peas
125g celery, diced
125g onions, diced
125g mixed peppers, diced
125g raw carrots, diced
125ml lemon juice
125ml olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
a pinch of cracked black pepper

Combine all the ingredients and leave for about an hour for the flavours to be absorbed.
Turn the salad over from time to time to coat the vegetables

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin (Butternut Squash) Soup
or 6

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped a pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 small butternut squash or small pumpkin peeled and diced
3 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced 2 carrots, diced
100g fresh coriander chopped
125g fresh double cream or crème fraise (optional) 1 can of coconut milk
A dash of salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin and Cajun seasoning and cook gently until softened. Stir in the diced potatoes, diced pumpkin and carrots and half fill the pan with water. There should be enough water to cover the vegetables with an added inch. Bring to the boil and simmer until all of the vegetables are soft. Stir in the brown sugar and reduce the heat You are reducing the heat because we don't want the water to evaporate . If the vegetables have absorbed a lot of the water you will need to add another 250ml of water. Now you are going to add some salt and pepper and coconut milk. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Give the soup a good stir, then add the fresh coriander. Remove from the heat and purée with a hand blender. Top with the cream, you can be fancy and try and create a swirl effect or simply add a big dolup to it if using, and to add a special touch top with some freshly fried sweet potato and plantain crisps , or fried cornbread croutons

Sour cream dressing

For the soured cream dressing:
1 small pot of soured cream
50ml lemon juice
115g spring onions, sliced
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
50g fresh coriander, finely chopped

Combine all of the above in a bowl and serve over the baked sweet potato


Momma's Meat Jambalaya

This has become my, as they say, signature dish. Jambalaya is a rice dish, which was first served in New Orleans. You can find similar dishes all over the world. Believe it or not, I never made or even ate jambalaya until I decided to open the restaurant in Brighton. Then I did a lot of research into different ways of preparing it and came up with my own Soul European version. I have also developed vegetarian and fish jambalayas. The beauty of this easy dish is that you can substitute or add whatever you like. It's a great way to use up what's in your kitchen.

For 6-8

4 chicken breasts (I prefer them skinned, but you could leave the skin on if you like)
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 onions, 1 roughly chopped, 1 thinly sliced
1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow pepper, half of each diced and the other half cut into strips
1 teaspoon crushed garlic 1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional, but it adds a nice touch if you have them)
1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 chorizo sausages, skinned and sliced, or 1 pack of sliced chorizo
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes 1 chilli, preferably Scotch bonnet, finely chopped or left whole
400g easy-cook American-style rice
1 tablespoon turmeric
450g mixed vegetables, e. g. 1 carrot, diced, 1 courgette, diced, a handful of peas, a handful of green beans and a few broccoli and cauliflower florets (or you could use a small bag of frozen mixed vegetables)
1 litre water or chicken stock
500g peeled raw king prawns or crayfish

First of all, you need to prepare the chicken. If you look at other recipes for jambalaya, you will note that the raw chicken is usually added at the beginning and cooked with the rice. I find this means the chicken tends to stew, and the texture isn't as juicy as I would like it. So I marinate it, then stir-fry it separately and add it at the end.

Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips. Sprinkle over the lemon juice, then the Cajun
seasoning, and set aside to marinate while you cook the jambalaya.
Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil, followed by the chopped onion, diced peppers and crushed garlic. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning and half the cumin, salt and pepper, then add the chorizo.

Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion and peppers are softened. The spices will begin to give off their fragrance and coat the pan, which will enhance the dish. I call this seasoning the pot. Now stir in the dried chilli flakes and chopped fresh chilli.

Remember that Scotch bonnet chillies are very hot; if you have any cuts they will burn you.
If you are worried about the heat level, a useful tip is to leave the chilli whole and add
it to the dish with the water or stock, removing it after 10 minutes. The unique flavour will
be released but the heat will be kept at a minimum.

Add the rice and stir well, then add the turmeric and the remaining half of the seasoning spices. Stir everything together until the rice is fully coated, then add the mixed vegetables and the water or chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and add the gumbo filé, if using. Simmer, uncovered, over a low heat for 20 minutes.

When the rice has swollen and is almost cooked, add the prawns or crayfish and simmer for a further 10 minutes Adjust the seasoning according to taste - you might want to add a touch more chilli.
Now for the final ingredient, the stir-fried chicken. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, add the chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes and then chorizo.

Add the sliced onion, peppers and mushrooms and stir-fry for 3 minutes, until the chicken is
cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Place on top of the jambalaya and
serve immediately.

to serve 4-6

225g butter
225g plain white flour, sifted 225g medium yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt
125g white sugar (optional, but better if you add it; cornbread should be a little sweet)
2 large egg
475 ml milk (preferably full fat, but semi skimmed is also good)

Set the oven to Gas Mark 4. you will need a small 9" baking tin, this can be round or square, or muffin tin with 12 portions. Place butter into the baking tin and place in the hot oven to melt, being careful not to let it burn. You can cut the butter up if you want to, but it doesn't matter, as it will easily melt. Remove once melted and set to the side. Turn the oven down to gas mark 4.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs, milk and melted butter. Combine all together using a wooden spoon, trying to work fast so that the butter doesn't harden. Pour the mixture into the warm baking tin and place in oven. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the bread has risen and is golden brown. Serve immediately - with butter and jam, if you have a sweet tooth.

This bread is great with gravy, meats, fish, or on its own.

Momma Cherri's Southern Fried and Cajun Chicken
with Lime Jerk Seasoning

Chicken quarters or chicken drumsticks
Plain flour
Vegetable oil for frying

For Cajun jerk seasoning
1 bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
2 fresh limes skin removed and quartered
1 Scotch bonnet chilli
½ lemon juiced
pinch each of sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
pinch of ground mixed spice
2 tablespoons or more olive oil for blending
plenty of time and love for the mixing

Combine all the above jerk seasoning ingredients in a bowl and blend using a hand mixer or place into a food processor and blend

Take your chicken pieces and run the Cajun/jerk seasoning over the chicken and put some under the skin or make a small cut in the meat and stuff a bit in and leave to marinade in fridge overnight or for at least 1 hour. If you are in a hurry don't worry as it will still taste great.
Place a frying pan on the stove with about 1 inch of vegetable oil, heat the pan until it is hot. Place the flour into a plastic bag and add salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.

Shake together to Mix well. Place the chicken pieces into the bag and shake.
Remove and place into the hot frying pan.

OR you can bake the chicken this way :

Place chicken onto a hot griddle pan on top of the stove to seal the chicken and then either transfer to the oven and bake for appox. 40 mins. Or under a hot grill for 20 minutes turning several times, ensuring that it doesn't burn. Half way through either method you should add a bit more of your Cajun/jerk seasoning and the sliced onions and sliced mixed peppers to the chicken. When the meat has cooked remove the chicken and with the excess juices, onions, peppers and seasoning add some water or stock to reduce down and make a delicious gravy.


Key lime pie
The traditional key lime pie originated in the Florida Keys in the 1800's when fresh ingredients other than the local limes were hard to find. The key limes are also referred to as a Mexican limes. They are small, thin skinned, with a greenish-yellow colour and bear a lot of juice. I have found them in local markets but any fresh lime will do. My recipe combines fresh limes with the juice of 1 lemon, and my pie base is made from ginger nut biscuits. The combination of ginger and lime go great together.
Serves 8-10 for 1 20cm pie
1 egg
1 can sweetened condensed milk 400ml
1 packet ginger nut biscuits 250 butter melted
125 ml freshly squeezed lime juice (approx. 4- 6 limes) 1 lemon juiced
Zest peel from 2 limes

The first thing to do is to make the pie crust. This is easy, simply crush the biscuits up, wrap inside a tea towel or place into a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin until powdery. Pour into a bowl and add the melted butter, stir with a fork, pour into the base of a pie pan and pat into place, covering the bottom of the pan with the butterery cookie base. In another bowl add the condensed milk, and eggs. Stir with a fork, gradually add the lime and lemon juice. The mixture will begin to thicken. Add the zest from one lime to the mixture. Pour into the pie pan on top of the base and top with the zest from the second lime. Place into a hot oven at 350? for 10 minutes only. Don't be fooled by the look of the pie and think you need to cook it for longer. It is meant to be custard-like. It is not a baked cheese cake although it does look and taste a bit like one. Once cooled, place in the fridge where it will continue to set. Serve with ice cream and fresh whipped cream.
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