Recipes for the best comfort food for a country-folk soul
A native of Macon, Georgia (USA), chronic wanderlust has led author Joy Donnell to travel the world, endulging in fascinating cuisine and scenery. She currently writes and lives in Atlanta with two very spoiled dogs named Leo and Yuki. For more information on Native American and African American Southern comfort food, read her delicious essay Savoring Solace. But for now, try these two recipes for a pair of personal favorites.
Cherokee Bean Bread
Is it okay to add more spices? Of course, my grandmother did and I do all the time! Traditionally this bread is very mild, but grandma loved to spice things up. As long as the red beans are fresh, not canned, your bread will have enough drama to enhance any seasoning you include.
2 cups red beans
1 3/4 cup chopped onion
2 fresh crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 cups corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In water, boil red beans until tender. Add salt. Transfer cooked beans and 1 1/2 cups of the bean liquid soup to the cornmeal in a large bowl.
2. Bring your water to a slow boil.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix with your hands. Form golf ball sized balls and drop them into the slow boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain balls on paper towel and serve.
The red beans can be cooked 1 day ahead and refrigerated.
Bean bread is versatile dish that be served as a side or an appetizer. The bread can be made with brown, pinto, or red beans.
Pepper Pot Soup
During cold winter nights, when you can’t bear to go outside, this soup will keep you warm and cozy. It’s great with wild rice, bean bread, or just by itself. For an extra burst of flavor, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the stew.
1 lb venison ribs
2 qt water
2 large onions, quartered
10 minced sun-dried tomatoes
1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped yellow pepper
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
1. Submerge ribs in water with onion in a Dutch oven. Cook over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for 3 hours.
2. Remove meat and let cool. Once cool to the touch, discard the bones and return meat to the pot. Add ingredients and cover for 1 1/2 hours. Serves six.
The ribs can be cooked up to 2 nights ahead and refrigerated. This recipe also works with beef ribs or left over steak, as long as you have at least 1 pound of meat.
Text and photo are Copyright © 2000 by Joy Donnell. All rights reserved.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The preceding post originally appeared in the online multicultural journal New Tribal Dawn, which published essays, fiction and poetry from 1999 to 2007. Although the journal is no longer active, we are preserving its fine literary archive here for posterity.)