Did you know that June is National Soul Food Month?

You’re probably familiar with the term “Soul Food,” after all it has become a common culinary term in recent decades. But it’s important we take the time to recognize what, exactly, soul food is and acknowledge why it holds a special place in the lives of so many people.

What is “Soul Food”?

The cuisine recognized today as soul food originated in the southern United States.

Infused with the flavors of numerous African cultures and made with the few, “unwanted” ingredients available to enslaved peoples, soul food became a part of the traditions and culture of generations of Americans.

The term “soul food” was first seen in print during the Black Pride movement of the 1960s. Some of the earliest references are in Malcolm X’s 1965 autobiography and the essay, “Soul Food” by author and activist Amiri Baraka.

It’s critical that we recognize the distinction between soul food and other southern cuisine.

Soul food specifically refers to the distinct culinary traditions of African Americans in the southern United States.

The cuisine is unique because of its complicated origins and its significance to the cultural traditions of Black and African Americans.

In an article on the history of soul food on Blackfoodie.co Vanessa Hayford says,

“Soul food has a rich and important history that ties Black culture to its African roots, and that history is deeply reflected in the staple recipes and techniques.”

Recipe

In honor of National Soul Food Month, this recipe and its story come from Solomon, one of our Achievement team members.

Solomon, thank you for sharing your story and your recipe!

Solomon’s Oxtails with Gravy!

“My family Oxtails with gravy recipe was handed down to me for 3 generations starting with my great great grandmother. This oxtail recipe is a hybrid of Caribbean oxtails made with southern comfort spin. Growing up, oxtails were the ultimate comfort food that my grandmother would make whenever we had a hard day and could use a feel-good boost. It was a tradition that one Sunday out of every month, my younger brothers and I would help my grandmother make oxtails, and it became a family bonding meal. Even today, when my daughters and I could use a little boost of feel-good energy and comfort, we head to the kitchen and make oxtails as it is my goal to keep the family recipe and intention strong for many generations to come!” — Solomon Howard, Evidation

Ingredients:

For the Oxtails:

2 lbs of Oxtails

1 clove of garlic

1 chopped onion

1 ½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 tablespoon greek seasoning

1 teaspoon season salt

1 can of Campbell’s mushroom gravy

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder to taste

For the Gravy:

3 tablespoons flour (more as needed)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Plug in a slow cooker (any slow cooker will do)
  • Place the temperature to “low”
  • Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl ensuring that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly and the oxtails are evenly covered
  • Pour the thoroughly mixed oxtails and ingredients into the slow cooker
  • Cover the slow cooker with its lid
  • Set a timer or the cooking time to 12 hours
  • And let the goodness begin to cook :)

Gravy Recipe:

After the oxtails have cooked for 12 hours:

  • Grab a large frying pan and place it on medium heat
  • Transfer 2 smaller pieces of oxtails into the pan with a half cup of the juices from the slow cooker
  • Add 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour into the pan and stir until flour mixes and turns into a gravy
  • Add more flour to thicken the gravy to the desired thickness.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Once the gravy is at the desired thickness, transfer the remaining oxtails from the slow cooker to the gravy (be sure to strain to not add too much of the broth from the slow cooker)

Modifications:

Any gravy recipe or premade gravy can work in place of the gravy recipe listed above.

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