The Indiana State Department of Health is partnering with Gary Brackett’s soul food restaurant, Georgia Reese’s Southern Table & Bar to educate the public on how to make healthy substitutions in soul food recipes. Chef Brown shares recipes for fried chicken, sweet potatoes and collard greens with a healthy twist.
Oven fried chicken
Chef Brown learned to cook soul food in her Grandma’s kitchen and has since researched and experimented with ways to reduce fat in her recipes. She served healthier dishes at her own restaurant, the former New Orleans on the Avenue in downtown Indianapolis, and says that she is happy to accommodate requests for healthy substitutions at Georgia Reese’s, although advance notice is appreciated.
“This is a Southern style restaurant and the South is known for hospitality and friendliness,” says Brown. “You feel that hospitality and love when you come in. We serve delicious, traditional soul food, but you must take everything in moderation. If we have healthy substitutions in-house, we can whip it up for you.”
Chef Brown’s tips for healthier soul food:
• Collard Greens: Rather than using pork belly, which is high in fat and cholesterol, use olive oil and smoked turkey wings or legs.
• Fried Chicken: Instead of Crisco or vegetable oil, try using a zero trans-fat oil, such as Canola oil and oven-fry chicken.
• Black Eyed Peas: Try making this dish with no meat and use garlic and onions to flavor it. If you must have meat, use turkey.
• Peach Cobbler: Use canned, sliced peaches in light syrup, unsalted butter and maple syrup instead of brown sugar and margarine.
Other easy tips, Brown says, include switching out white rice for brown rice, using techniques such as grilling or baking rather than frying, blackening meat for seasoning, and using chicken or vegetable stock instead of salt to add sodium.
“I love spinach blanched in chicken stock,” Brown says. “You just add a pinch of minced garlic to the boiling stock and put the spinach in for about two to five minutes. It’s delicious.”
Central Indiana residents should be sure to check out Gary Brackett, Chef Brown and Dr. Adams in the WISH-TV Indy Style kitchen on Mon., Feb. 23, from 9-10 a.m. (EST) as they cook up collard greens, oven-fried chicken and sweet potatoes.
For more information about Georgia Reese’s, visit their website at georgiareeses.com.
Hoosiers who do not have health care coverage or access to a doctor are encouraged to check availability for the new Healthy Indiana Plan—HIP 2.0—by visiting www.HIP.IN.gov or calling 1-877-GET-HIP-9.