Thursday, November 18, 2010

Smoked Hog Jowl and Goat Southern Soul Penne Pasta

Soul food pasta!  The flavor of this pasta entree is spectacular! 
     Half of my family heritage is from the old south.  So I am very familiar with the flavors of southern soul food cooking.  Southern cooking is a meld of English, French, African and Native American ingredients and cooking techniques.  Soul food is a culinary religious experience!  The benefits of soul food from a health standpoint may depend on the individual.  Cooking to make someone feel better is what soul food is all about.  For a healthy person who has hard physical work to do, soul food is the best cuisine of all!
     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 very beneficial for building very 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.  In the peak years of of steroid usage, about 20 or 30 years ago, there was a champion body builder who was so very strong and he had great muscular definition.  My memory is foggy on this, but that man won either the Mr Universe or Mr America title 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 was by the means of illegal steroid usage.  The huge man smiled with sparkling shiny gapped front teeth and he said "The secret to my success as a champion body builder is soul food!"  What he said was the truth!  Soul food can put meat on anybodies bones.  If you want a rock hard body and you want to look younger than your age, soul food is the cuisine to eat.  You have to be active physically to gain from the benefits of soul food.
     This soul food pasta entree that I created today was one that I have given thought to for a few months.  I wanted to create a great soul food pasta that had a nice contrast of some of the traditional ingredients of soul food cuisine.  The techniques required to cook this pasta are southern in origin.
     Recipe:  Heat a saute pan over medium heat. 
     Place a couple of thin fatty slices of smoked hog jowl in the pan. 
     Allow the fatty jowl meat sizzle gently to render a little bit of grease in the pan.   
     Add three large bite size square cut pieces of goat meat. 
     Add a handful of chopped onion. 
     Let the onion cook, till it is caramelized to a light brown color.  The fatty jowl meat and the goat meat should be caramelizing slightly at this point too. 
     Add couple spoonfuls more of chopped onion. 
     When the second bunch of chopped onions are cooked clear, add a small chopped medium hot chili pepper.  (A small serrano, cayenne, tobasconelle or carolina pepper is the perfect amount of spicy heat for this recipe.  I used a small green serrano finger pepper.  All that is needed is a mild hot pepper flavor in broth.) 
     Add a couple of chopped green onions. 
     Add a few thin slices of lean smoked hog jowl meat. 
     Let the ingredients gently sizzle in the smoked hog jowl grease till the newly added pepper and onion begins to caramelize. 
     Add some small chopped mustard greens.  (I chose mustard greens over collard greens for this recipe.  Mustard greens are tasty soul food greens too.) 
     Add enough light pork broth to nearly cover the ingredients in the pan. 
     Add a little bit of sea salt and black pepper.  (Smoked hog jowl meat is not salty, so season this recipe with salt as you normally do.) 
     Add a tiny splash of white vinegar. 
     Let the ingredients slowly simmer till the broth is nearly evaporated. 
     Add a small handful of sliced okra.
     Add a pinch of dried crushed red pepper.
     Add a small handful of cooked black eyed peas. 
     Add some water so the ingredients are nearly covered.
     Simmer the ingredients slowly over medium low heat one last time. 
     When the broth is nearly evaporated and has reduced to pot liquor, stir in a couple pats of unsalted plugra butter.  (Pot liquor is very concentrated rich pan broth.  Plugra butter is a very rich butter like old fashioned hand churned butter.) 
     Add a portion of al dente cooked penne rigate pasta. 
     Toss the pasta and the ingredients together in the pan. 
     Set the pasta on a plate and be sure to set the three pieces of goat meat on top of the pasta. 
     Make sure that enough of the pot liquor is on the plate with the soul pasta to serve as a thin sauce. 
     Garnish with a flat Italian parsley sprig.
     The flavor, depth and texture of this soul food pasta is very satisfying!  The fatty smoked hog jowl pieces were for flavor and they can be eaten or simply left on the plate.  The lean meaty parts of smoked hog jowl are scrumptious!  The goat meat pieces are tender and are very mild in flavor.  Be sure to have some sliced white bread or corn bread at the table to soak up any pot liquor that is left on the plate.  This Hog Jowl and Goat Southern Soul Pasta is some real feel good food!  The rush of strength that this pasta delivers to the body is exhilarating!  Please pass the cornbread fried in chicken grease!  ...  Shawna        

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