By Chevont’e Alexander
Fancy dips, savory soups, tempting hors d’oeuvres, delightful desserts, and fried chicken— indeed, the holidays are filled with scrumptious culinary delights.
Urban Views Weekly has teamed up with Gina Neely from The Food Network and Chef DéAndre Johnson from O.M.G. Cafe in Richmond to provide you with holiday treats and tips to help bring holiday cheer and full stomachs to your dinner table. Enjoy!
Gina Neely’s Hoppin’ John Soup
Ever since Gina was a little girl, her mom has been telling her that “if you don’t eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day you’ll have a bad year ahead of you.” Now, when Gina was younger she didn’t care a bit. Gina was going through that awkward stage anyway— how much worse could it be?
But as Gina got older, she soon learned to love that black- eyed pea tradition, convinced that the year ahead was going to be fantastic!
And you know what’s funny? I tell my girls the same thing. Who says traditions and superstitions aren’t effective? Not to mention that black- eyed peas are rich in calcium and vitamin A. What could be bad about that? Gina even added in her collard greens to bring money and good luck to the New Year.
1 small bunch (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces smoked ham steak,cut into 1?4-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1?4 teaspoon crushed red- pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground
6 cups low- sodium chicken broth
One 15.5- ounce can black- eyed
peas, drained and rinsed
One 15- ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 cup cooked long- grain white rice
1 dried bay leaf
Dash of hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Parmesan cheese, grated for Topping
Remove the stems and center ribs from the collard greens.
Stack about six leaves on top of each other, roll into a cigar shape, and slice into thin ribbons.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium- high heat.
When the oil is hot, toss in the ham, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, roughly 4 minutes.
Sprinkle in the red- pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.
Add the collard greens, and saute until they begin to soften.
Pour in the chicken broth, the black- eyed peas, and the can of tomatoes with their juices.
Bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
Stir the rice into the soup to warm.
Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
Spoon into bowls, and sprinkle each bowl with Parmesan cheese.
Corn Bread and Collard Dressing
GINA: This dish is the “queen of dressing,” because dressing and collards are two favorites of mine. I add bacon, ’cause you gotta have some pig, and the carrots give it a different spin from your traditional dish. You’ll want to think ahead with this recipe and make that corn bread the day before. It needs to be dry enough to soak up all the good fl avors. SERVES 10 TO 12
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 small bunch collard greens, ribs removed, sliced into very thin ribbons
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1?4 teaspoon crushed red- pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups cubed day- old yellow cornbread
4 cups chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten
1?4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and butter a 4- quart casserole. Cook the bacon in a large, heavy skillet set over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Saute the vegetables and thyme in the hot bacon fat until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with the red- pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and set aside to cool slightly.
While the vegetables are cooking, spread the corn- bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the hot oven for 5 to 6 minutes, until they brown slightly on the edges.
Put the cubed corn bread in a very large mixing bowl. Pour in the broth and beaten eggs over the corn bread. Add the vegetable mixture, bacon, and parsley, and toss all together. Spoon the dressing into the prepared casserole dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes; then uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes more, to give it a nice
Excerpted from THE NEELYS’ CELEBRATION COOKBOOK by Pat and Gina Neely. Copyright © 2011 by Pat Neely and Gina Neely. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House. All rights reserved.
412 North 25th Street
Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Chef DéAndre Johnson from O.M.G. Café gets us full off his finger lickin’ good classic Southern Fried Chicken. Or come enjoy the Bourbon Steak & Shrimp at his new restaurant opening up January 2012 (Johnson’s Southern Comfort, 2306 Jefferson Avenue).
“Sometimes I get tired of the normal fried chicken during the holidays, so it’s good to add a little variety to a holiday meal”, comments Chef Johnson.
Chef DéAndre Johnson also gives us five holiday cooking tips to help us get around the kitchen like the pros!
1. Prep food ahead of time to allow yourself cooking time.
2. Properly store food.
3. Clean your surroundings as you cook.
4. Marinate foods at least 24 hours in advance.
5. Get proper rest before cooking large meals.
Chef Dre Classic Southern Fried Chicken?
1 cup hot red pepper sauce
2 cups self-rising flour
2 1/2 pound chicken, cut into pieces
House Seasoning, recipe follows
• Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange (about 1 cup). Season the chicken with the House Seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour. Place the chicken in the preheated oil and fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer than white meat. Approximate cooking time is 13 to 14 minutes for dark meat and 8 to 10 minutes for white meat. Allow Chicken to sit at least 3 to 4 min before serving.
1 cup salt
1/4 cup pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup thyme
1/2 cup coarse crushed red pepper
1/2 cup adabo
To make the House Seasoning, mix the ingredients together and store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.
Voilà! Are you hungry yet? Pat and Gina Neely, and Chef Dre have given you tips and treats for the holidays. From Urban Views Weekly, Happy Cooking and Happy Holidays!