Where’s the meat?
In my opinion, neck bones are the original “where’s the meat” dish! Originally, soul food was never about a lot of meat! Infact it’s heavy on sides. Why? Well probably because meat was scarce! Like, get out the magnifying glass to find it scarce! The slaves got the scraps, leftovers and parts that the people who owned them didn’t want. I think that’s why we have so many great soup, stew and casserole recipes because these dishes contained a little meat to season the dish but were filled with vegetables, beans, rice, potatoes etc.
We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!
Today modern soul food recipes are a lot heavier on the meats. Because ribs, pork chops, meat loaf, fried chicken, roasts – etc., was not food that would have been available during slavery. At least, not available to the slaves! Recently I had a plate of neck bones and potatoes which I hadn’t eaten in years and it was really good! And it reminded me that southern/soul food originally didn’t rely heavily on a lot of meat. Because the dishes relied on flavor and fresh ingredients, farm to table was the way of life. So, slaves ate what they grew and scavenged with a little bit of meat thrown in here and there when they could get it.
- 3 lbs. of pork neck bones
- 1 onion cut up
- 1 hot pepper cut up
- 4 stocks of celery cut up
- 1 c. diced sweet peppers (green, red and yellow)
- 3 lbs. peeled quartered potatoes
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- Clean and rinse neckbones and put all ingredients except potatoes into a 6 quart stock pot. Add water to cover ingredients to 2-3" above the top. Cook over medium heat about 1½ hours. Add 3 lbs. of quartered potatoes. Season potatoes to taste with salt, pepper, garlie powder and onion powder. Cook another 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and meat falls off the bone. Add a few pats of butter over the top of potatoes. Serve with corn bread and your choice of vegetable. Don't forget the hot sauce!