When I think of soul food I think of the delicious food my Nana cooks. You know, the last time I was home for the holidays Nana made my stuffing. She didn’t have the actual recipe, but she remembered what ingredients I had used when I made it for her––Field Roast apple sage sausages, rosemary, ciabatta bread, shiitake mushrooms, and the usual stuffing additions like onions, celery, and garlic.
That stuffing was the bomb! She put her own Nana spin on it, and injected it with a level of soul that I can only hope to someday possess. Nana has got skills.
When I was growing up down south, I would look forward to the elaborate weekend breakfasts Nana made. She would wake up early to carefully peel potatoes with a paring knife. Then she’d thinly slice each potato with the utmost precision before frying them in an old cast iron skillet. I’m making myself hungry just thinking about those homefries. I can smell them now!
Nana definitely taught me how to cook with care, attention, and soul. But she also always nurtured my creativity. She still does! Cooking isn’t about following a recipe to the t. There is merit in doing that, but you make room for soul to slide into the dish when you add your own style to it.
I love my Nana’s homefries, but when I’m away from home I cook mine differently. Instead of using white potatoes (which I do love), I use sweet potatoes (of course). Sweet potatoes taste like home to me. They’re southern, they’re soulful, they’re colorful, they’re flavorful, and they’re tremendously comforting. Sweet Potato Soul.
This sweet potato hash (aka home fry) recipe is delicious if you follow the recipe. But just like all recipes, it’s even tastier when you add your own style to it. Cut the potatoes how you like, fry with your favorite oil, add your favorite spices and herbs. And make sure to sprinkle a little soul in with each ingredient. My nana taught me that 😉
- coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Melt 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
- Add the onions, pepper, and 1 tsp of sea salt. Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the skillet, and set aside in a bowl.
- Heat 3-4 tbsp of coconut oil in the same skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add the sweet potatoes, and 1 tsp sea salt. Fry for 2 minutes.
- Cover the skillet for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Remove lid and allow them the cook a little longer until they are tender.
- Once tender, stir in the cooked onions and peppers.
- Then stir in the spices, and season with more sea salt to taste.
- Stir in fresh parsley before serving the potatoes hot.