Mother’s Day Soul Food

Red Swiss Chard

I usually post after a meal is eaten and gone, but I’m going to try something a little different this week. I’m going to share the recipes for what I’m making before I make it, and then I’ll let you know how it went and if I made any adjustments to the recipes while cooking. And of course, I’ll include pictures, because I know that’s mostly what I read food blogs for anyway.

For Mother’s Day I want to treat my family to a hearty soul food dinner. Being in Harlem and so close to so many soul food meccas, I first thought I would pick up some giant pieces of fried chicken from Sylvia’s Restaurant, but even though ordering in would be so easy, I’d so much rather try to make it myself. I want to cook up what I imagine (being a Jewish girl from New York) would be a perfect after-church picnic. Considering my mother’s all-time favorite food is chicken, I know she’ll just love it.

I’ll be making fried chicken for the first time, which I’m excited about. I don’t have the ability to really deep fry in my kitchen, so I wasn’t really sure how I would do it. Then I saw this Paula Deen clip on Hulu which reminded me that there are other ways to get a delightfully crusty piece of fried chicken. In the video below, Paula makes her grandmother’s recipe, where she pan fries the chicken and then covers the pan and lets the pieces steam in the oil for the rest of their cooking time.

This recipe looks doable. I wonder how the crust will turn out. I also hope that the pieces don’t retain too much oil after they are removed from the pan. Generally, when frying in oil, the high temperature ensures that water and air are coming out of the food so fast that oil isn’t able to get it. Turning the temperature down but leaving the food in the oil makes me think that the chicken is just going to soak all that oil back up. It almost makes sense to steam them in a different pan and then crisp them back up. I’ll take Paula’s word for it for the first time though.

On the side, we’ll have some sweet potato wedges to help soak up the gravy from the chicken, red swiss chard with chick peas (based on my own collard greens recipe, a big salad, and corn pudding (based on, but not entirely adhering to, another Paula Deen recipe for a corn casserole).

Sweet Potato

For dessert, Jen’s light but intense mixed berry and lemon sorbet topped with whipped cream, and navel oranges.

I don’t have much experience making soul food, but I’m hoping I’ll manage to keep the soul in it, while keeping it healthy and fresh. And I couldn’t think of a better way to show my mom how much we all love her than by working hard to make some of her favorite foods from scratch.

Are you planning to cook for your mother this Mother’s Day?

One year ago: Velvet Lemon Pasta Sauce, Revisited


About this author:  I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin. Read more from this author...


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