The rules around here are, that you get whatever you want for dinner on your birthday. Sometimes it’s a challenge to pull it off, because when I say anything I really mean anything. Seafood feast in January? Sure! All day Escargot while in Paris? Uh, okay!
Fried chicken with all the soul food accompaniments? Yes, of course dear!
Oh crap, what IS soul food?

gavinbday soulfood2

Happily, it wasn’t hard to figure out.
I used this recipe for the fried chicken. It was so good!
My own recipe for the Cheesy Grits.
I bought the Mac & Cheese.
I’m the most proud however, of the Collard Greens!
It took some research and testing but I’m very pleased with my version.

Southern Style Collard Greens
4 bunches Fresh Collard Greens (about 8 cups chopped)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Sweet Onion
1 tablespoon Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
2 cups Vegetable Stock
3-4 cups Water
2 Smoked Ham Hocks
2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar

Slice the onion and saute in the olive oil in a big pot over medium high for about 10 minutes or until it’s soft. Add the peppercorns, crushed red pepper, vegetable stock and ham hocks to the pot. Add enough water so the ham hocks are almost covered. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours.
After the stock is finished, remove the ham hocks and remove as much meat as you can. Chop the meat into bite sized pieces and return it to the pot. Bring the stock to a boil uncovered for approximately 10-15 mins, reducing by about half.
Wash and chop the collard greens into rough 2 inch strips. Discard the very end of the stem where it’s the thickest.
Add the greens to the pot and stir until they are wilted some. Add the lemon juice.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes.
When the cooking time is done add the vinegar and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with your soul food birthday meal. Oh, don’t forget the grape Kool-aid!

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