Monday, July 11, 2016

Smoked Hog Jowl and Goat Soul Food Penne Rigate Pasta

     Savory Soul Food Pasta!
     Many people refer to old fashioned southern food, country food and African American cooking as Soul Food.  The benefits of soul food from a health standpoint may depend on the individual.  Cooking with the honest intention of making guests feel better and stronger is just part of what Soul Food is all about.
     A dietary study was done many years ago on Soul Food.  The findings of the study showed that the Soul Food cooking style and ingredients were beneficial for building strong muscle tone and tendon strength.
     Professional athletes and body builders in the last fifty years have used illegal steroid substances to increase muscle mass and strength the easy way.  During the peak years of of steroid usage a few decades ago, there was an African American body builder that was very strong and he had great muscular definition.  The body builder won world champion titles a few years in a row.
     The giant Afro American bodybuilder was at a news conference when a reporter asked if his secret to success came from illegal steroid usage.  The huge man smiled with sparkling teeth and he said "The secret to my success as a champion body builder is Soul Food!"  The reporters were dumbstruck, because they assumed that steroids were the only pathway to success back in those days.  The last thing they expected was to see an honest athlete that relied only on great old fashioned Soul Food for building strength.
     What the body building champion said was the truth!  Soul Food can put meat on anybody's bones.  If you want a strong body and you want to look younger than your age, Soul Food is the cuisine to eat.  Soul Food benefits those who are physically active the most.  Those who eat soul food and just laze around, will certainly have weight control problems in a short time.  This is because Soul Food is rich and the nutrients are readily available.  
     The rules of making Soul Food are simple.  No pre-made ingredients should be used, other than hot sauce and condiments.  Nothing should be wasted.  The stewing or braising pot liquor is never dumped down the drain.  Meats and vegetables must be fully cooked and tender enough to easily digest.  Simple seasonings are the only flavoring additives.
     All Soul Food must be cooked with comfort in mind.  Expensive big city gourmet food items would be out of place.  Only fresh farm food and affordable down home ingredients should be used.  Secondary cuts of meat are cherished more than filet mignon.  The most important rule is that Soul Food must be cooked with loving care and pride!
     Today's Soul Food Pasta is something that I gave some thought to for a few months, yet it is nothing new.  Noodles often take the place of rice or potatoes in down home cooking.  Southern country style cooking techniques get the most flavor out of the few simple ingredients.  

     Smoked Hog Jowl and Goat Soul Food Penne Rigate Pasta:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty pasta entrée.
     Goat meat can be found at old fashioned butcher shops.  Usually the goat meat is cut into large chunks for stewing.  Cutting the goat meat into small pieces helps it to become tender quicker.  
     Step 1:  Cook 1 portion of Penne Rigate Pasta in boiling water over high heat till it is al dente.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Cool the pasta under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil over the pasta, while tossing, so it does not stick together.
     Set the pasta aside till later in the recipe.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chicken grease, pork lard or vegetable oil.
     Place 4 thin slices of smoked hog jowl in the pan.  (About 2 to 3 total ounces.)
     Gently sauté the fatty jowl meat till a few golden brown highlights appear and a little bit of grease is rendered.
     Step 3:  Cut 4 ounces of goat meat into bite size cube shaped pieces.
     Add the goat meat.
     Sauté till a few brown highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Add 3 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Sauté till the onions and meat are caramelized to a light brown color.
     Step 5:  Add 2 tablespoons more chopped onion.
     Add 1 chopped green serrano chile pepper.
     Add 2 chopped green onions.
     Sauté till the second addition of onions become clear in color.
     Step 6:  Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped mustard greens.
     Stir till the greens start to wilt.
     Step 7:  Add enough light pork broth to almost cover the ingredients in the pan.  (About 2 cups.)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till most the broth is evaporated.
     Step 9:  Add 1/3 cup of sliced okra.
     Add 1/3 cup of pre-cooked black eyed peas.
     Add 1 pinch of dried crushed red pepper.
     Add enough water to almost cover the ingredients.  (About 2 cups.)
     Gently simmer till the broth reduces to about 1/2 cup of rich tasting pot liquor.
     Step 10:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the reserved portion of cooked Penne Rigate Pasta.
     Toss the ingredients together, till the pasta is hot.
     Step 11:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mound the pasta on a plate.  Try to expose a few pieces of goat meat and smoked hog jowl on top of the pasta.
     Pour enough pot liquor over the pasta, so there is plenty on the plate to be soaked up with bread.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Serve with sliced white bread or corn bread on the side!

     This a good tasting Soul Food Pasta that is very satisfying!

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