Indy Style

Georgia Reese’s chef offers healthy subs in soul food

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.RECIPE:Oven  fried  chicken

3  1⁄2 lbs chicken parts
salt and pepper
2 large eggs
1⁄4 cup milk
2 1⁄2 cups crushed corn flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
Position rack in upper 1/3 of oven. Preheat to 350°F.
Remove chicken skin, if  desired.
Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Rinse chicken and pat dry.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Whisk eggs and milk together in a large bowl.
Combine corn flakes, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl.
Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then coat with corn flake mixture, patting with fingers to make the crumbs stick (you can do up to this step about 3 hours in advance and keep uncovered in fridge).
Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on the greased cookie sheet.
At this point you can drizzle 2‐3 tablespoons melted butter over the chicken, if you would like.
Bake until the chicken is golden and crisp, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Serve immediately

MOVE OVER CRISCO-SOUL FOOD STAPLES ARE GETTING A HEALTHY MAKEOVERThis year’s Black History Month highlights “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.” To help celebrate the month, the State’s top health official is partnering with former Colts player, Gary Brackett, and his Indianapolis restaurant, Georgia Reese’s Southern Table & Bar, to give some soul food recipes a healthy makeover.”African Americans are more obese and have a higher rate of diabetes than whites in our state,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “Making improvements to diet and exercise are the only way to get these numbers down and improve our health. Gary and I were talking one day and he mentioned that his chef is a whiz in the kitchen when it comes to making healthy substitutions in soul food recipes. I’m very pleased to be able to share these suggestions with all Hoosiers during Black History Month.”Soul food has its roots in slavery, when African Americans had to make do with whatever food was available to them, using locally raised or gathered foods and other inexpensive ingredients. The term “soul food” came into popularity in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement and celebrates the resourcefulness and skill of cooks who were able to create a distinctive cuisine despite limited means.Soul food is known for its use of animal fat and salt to flavor dishes, however, more recently, contemporary health-conscious cooks have sought to find ways to put a low-fat spin on some of the most traditional dishes. Chef Bridget Brown of Georgia Reese’s at 3454 W. 86th Street in Indianapolis, is part of this movement.

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.

• Sweet Potatoes: Trade in the brown sugar and margarine for maple syrup and unsalted butter.

• 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

Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at

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 or calling 1-877-GET-HIP-9.


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