Although I read Harper Lee's amazing book in junior high and have watched the movie a couple of times before, it has been many years since I had seen it. I wanted to go back and reread the book this month too, but that just didn't happen so I had to content myself with watching the movie, grabbing the DVD from the library. I actually watched the film and decided what to make at the beginning of the month but it has taken me until the end of the month to make and post my movie inspired dish.
If you are not familiar with the story, it takes place in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s where Jean Louise Finch (she goes by Scout) lives with her brother Jem and widowed father Atticus--an attorney. Atticus is asked to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman and as ensuing racism and bigotry in their small southern town are intensified by the trial, Scout and Jem are exposed to it. That's just the short version, but I assume most people at least know the story--even if they haven't read the book or seen the film. It's a wonderful classic film and it won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and a Best Actor Oscar for Gregory Peck.
Food-wise, there is not a ton of food shown, but there was certainly enough for inspiration, including a mention of a soft teacake with frosting, collard greens, hickory nuts, biscuits, cornbread, breakfasts with coffee & milk, a roast dinner with potatoes and gravy, peas, and molasses 'syrup' poured over everything by a schoolmate of Jem and Scout's, and a glorious ham Halloween costume.
For my movie-inspired dish, I wanted to turn the collard greens that popped up in mentions and on the table into a homey soup--along with some good partners for greens, potatoes and black-eyed peas. I though about making biscuits to go with it, but I am not much of a baker. I happened to see a few collard greens recipes that were topped with cornmeal dumplings--which I though would be fun to add to a soup and easier to make than the biscuits--or even the cornbread shown in the film. One recipe had maple syrup in the cornmeal dumplings and I thought that would be a fun nod to the sweetness of the 'syrup' (although it was actually molasses) that Scout's schoolmate poured over his entire dinner. The dumplings turned out not to be a win in terms of texture (see my notes below) but the soup was really delicious. ;-)
Potato & Collard Greens Soup with Maple-Cornmeal Dumplings
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 8 Servings)
2 Tbsp canola or coconut oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chipped
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp smoked chili pepper (I used Aleppo pepper)
2 cups black-eyed peas--frozen (defrosted) or canned (I used frozen)
8 cups good veggie stock (homemade or low-sodium)
4 to 5 small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed well and cubed
1 large bunch of collard greens, washed, large center stems removed & chopped into bite-sized pieces
Maple-Cornmeal Dumplings (recipe below)
sea salt and pepper to taste
For the Dumplings:
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour* see note below
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup of broth from the soup (I ended up using about 1/2 cup to moisten batter enough)
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until the veggies begin to soften and onions start to turn translucent--about 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, dried parsley, smoked paprika, celery salt, and smoked chili pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the black eyed peas and stir well, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and collard greens and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and season with sea salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings by combining the cornmeal, flour, spices and maple syrup in a bowl. Stir in the 1/4 cup of the soup liquid into the dry ingredients until just combined--forming a thick batter. (I needed double the amount of the soup broth.)
Carefully drop the dumplings into the simmering soup. Cover the pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes until dumplings are cooked through. Do not stir soup as it will break up the dumplings. Instead, gently shake the pot occasionally as dumplings cook.
Once dumplings are cooked, gently ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve. Enjoy!
Dumpling Note: My dumplings look pretty good and although the flavor was good, they were not great texture-wise, ending up way too dense and hard. I used this recipe from Paula Deen as a base but I omitted the onion and added in spices and maple syrup. I think the biggest challenge was the flour I used as I didn't realize I was out of all-purpose flour (I don't use much flour) and rather than go to the store, I used the rice flour I had on hand. I probably should have altered the amount or done more reading on substitutions. Anyway, I looked at the reviews online after and it seems people were pretty mixed on the dumpling texture and whether they worked or not--so try at your own risk. I am fully willing to say it was operator error in my case. ;-)
Notes/Results: I already mentioned my dumpling issues above but the soup was really fantastic--full of delicious flavor and texture and it's a healthy vegan soup to boot. I used smoky paprika and Aleppo pepper to get a smoky profile--although you could certainly toss in some ham or smoked ham hocks, sausage, or smoked turkey if you eat meat. I bought the frozen black-eyed peas and liked the texture better than canned and I loved the fact that I didn't have to pre-soak them and cook them for age. I'd use them again because it seems like when I buy the bags of dried black-eyed peas from the grocery store, they are usually stale and take forever to cook. Hearty, satisfying, and good, I would happily make the soup again--just maybe not the dumplings. ;-)
The deadline for this round of Food 'n Flix is Saturday, September 30th and Debra will be rounding up the dishes on her blog soon after. If you can't make it this month and you like food, movies, and foodie movies, join us for Food 'n Flix in October when we will be watching (the 2016) Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, hosted by Coffee and Casseroles.
We have some fantastic dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe is here with Tostados with Cashew Crema and Avocado Coleslaw. She says, "I found a neglected avocado hidden in the corner of the fridge. It had been there so long I was grateful to rescue any flesh but it wasn't enough enough for a guacamole. I had seen a recipe for coleslaw with avocado mayo recently (while browsing magazines in the newsagents) so I turned it into a simple small coleslaw."
Tina of Squirrel Head Manor celebrated her husband's birthday with a delicious meal of crab cakes, cheese grits, and a salad and says, "As always, the birthday person plans the dinner the menu. We are both a fan of crab cakes so this was the indulgence. They are rich and you shouldn't have them too often. The cheese grits are a specialty of Doug's and he has them on the table in 5 minutes. Lots of cheddar, ooey gooey melty cheese grits. For an accompaniment I made a Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad."
Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shared Waldorf Kale Salad with an Apple and Honey Citrus Dressing. She said, "This beautiful kale Waldorf super salad brings together apples and honey just in time for Rosh Hashanah- the Jewish New Year! On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year which begins Wednesday evening through Friday evening, it is traditional to dip apples in honey to welcome in a sweet new year. In addition, we keep our menus on the sweet side serving sweet kugels, sweet potato tzimmis, apple cakes, etc. This year I decided to serve a salad recipe for our celebration dinner that incorporates our holiday theme. I've added chopped apples, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, grated carrots, and celery to curly fall kale and dressed it with my slightly sweet apple and honey citrus dressing."
Here at Kahakai Kitchen I also made sandwiches of Bagels with Two Shmears for a recent book review. I knew I would love the Smoked Trout Shmear as it has all my favorite ingredients but the Harissa-Mint Shmear was a happy surprise. Full of great flavor--with a hit of heat paired with the cooling labne and mint, I am also using it on veggie sandwiches.
I also tried Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fried Halloumi Salad for a virtual Potluck in honor of my friend Kim. It's a Greek-style salad that is made even better with the chewy "squeaky cheese" fried halloumi on top. So good!
Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week!
Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)
(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...
To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
- Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.
On your entry post (on your blog):
- Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
- You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).
Have a happy, healthy week!