Soul food recipes have been slimmed down

January 09, 1991|By John Tanasychuk | John Tanasychuk,Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Try these recipes for more healthful versions of traditional soul food.

Oven-Fried Okra

1 1/4 cups cornmeal

Pepper to taste

1 3/4 pounds fresh okra, washed, drained, tips and stems removed, cut into 1/2 -inch slices

Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal and pepper. Dredge okra in cornmeal mixture. (Okra must be moistened, from washing, for cornmeal mixture to coat well.) Lightly coat a 15x10x1-inch jellyroll pan with cooking spray. Spread okra in a single layer in pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and serve. Yields six servings.

Light Grits Spoon Bread

Vegetable cooking spray

2 cups skim milk

1/3 cup uncooked regular grits

1 whole egg, beaten, at room temperature

5 egg whites at room temperature

Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 1 1/2 -to-two-quart casserole with cooking spray. In a heavy three-quart saucepan, bring to a boil the milk and grits. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, ten to 12 minutes or until very thick. Temper the egg by beating in small amounts of the milk-grits mixture, whisking with each addition. Gradually stir in about one-fourth of mixture into egg. Add remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into grits mixture. Spoon grits mixture into casserole. Bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve. Serves six.

Southern-Style Collards

2 quarts water

6 ham hocks

5 pounds collard greens, washed, dried, stems removed

1 small onion, peeled, ends removed, chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons black pepper

Place water and ham hocks in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 30-45 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove ham hocks and discard, or reserve any meat to use in other recipes. Strain the broth, and chill until fat rises to the surface and hardens. Remove fat and discard. Layer several leaves of collard greens and roll cigar-style. Then cut every one-quarter-inch with a diagonal cut. Place collards, broth, onion, sugar and black pepper in Dutch oven or soup pot and boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 30-45 minutes or until collards are tender. Serves ten.

Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas

3/4 pound ham hocks

1 quart water

4 cups fresh black-eyed peas, shelled; or frozen, defrosted and drained; or dried, soaked overnight in water, drained, fresh water cooked 1 1/2 hours before using

1 medium onion, peeled, ends removed, minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a three-quart Dutch oven, place ham hocks; add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30-45 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove ham hocks and discard, or reserve any meat to use in other recipes. Strain broth, and chill until fat rises to the surface and hardens. Remove fat and discard. Place broth, peas, onion and pepper in three-quart Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes or until peas are tender. Add more water if necessary. Serves six.

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