February is Black History Month, a 50-plus-year-old tradition in the U.S. dedicated to celebrating the achievements, culture and history of Black people. And what better way to tell a story than through a recipe? So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite recipes, with origins represented from West African to Caribbean and Creole to Southern, from Black chefs around the country.
Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, wintry stews or simple weeknight meals, enjoy lighter desserts or decadent ones, these dishes are guaranteed to become regulars in your kitchen.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Craving some big, bold flavors? The spice blend in this dish from Kwame Onwuachi is smoky, nutty and savory while the sauce is sweet, spicy and aromatic. The best part is the meat turns out melt-in-your-mouth tender from the slow braise.
This cozy dish takes its cue from pastelón, a Puerto Rican casserole that varies by region but usually includes plantains, meat, onion, bell pepper, cheese, tomato, olives, herbs, spices and sometimes raisins. Nadine Nelson uses the plantains as a top crust, in the style of shepherd’s pie.
Lazarus Lynch // Son of a Southern Chef, LLC. / Son of a Southern Chef
Lazarus Lynch’s fried chicken sandwich puts most you have tasted to shame. The buttermilk breading is incredibly crispy, spiced and topped with the ideal balance of crunchy cabbage, creamy hot sauce and tart pickles. This is a sandwich you will forever crave.
Awaze is a versatile sauce hailing from Ethiopia where it’s used on just about everything. You can use it as a finishing sauce, as Hawa Hassan does, or brush it on just about any protein (fish, poultry, tofu or tempeh) before grilling, sautéing or roasting. In Ethiopia, they use local honey wine to make this sauce, but here we can use a combo of red wine and honey to replicate its sweet but tannic flavor.
Nassima Rothacker / Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen
Perfect for chilly days or anytime your soul needs a nourishing boost, this light and spicy broth is always wholesome and warming. If you feel any bit under the weather, it can stave off cold symptoms — Zoe Adjonyoh swears it works every time!
A versatile rice medley is perfect for a weeknight meal because everything is conveniently mixed together, dumped right onto a sheet pan and ready to eat in 30 minutes. Once you pull this pan from the oven, the onions will be caramelized, the raisins will be plump, the veggies will be tender and the room will fill with the smell of what Jerrelle Guy calls “sheet pan potpourri.”
Courtesy Angie Mosier
Elevate ordinary cheesesteaks by upping the cut to a rib-eye steak. With the natural smoky flavors from the grill and ornamented fixings like cheese, mayo, tomatoes and some spice, this Philly classic from Rodney Scott is hard to beat.
Chef Jason Routzahn / Restaurant R’evolution
The fish, coconut milk, okra and yucca all come together to create a really flavorful dish that represents the Caribbean and everything St. Lucia native chef Nina Compton loves about the region’s cuisine.
Kardea Brown loves Southern-style mac and cheese because it’s cheesy and hearty, yet sturdy. It’s basically a custard-style baked macaroni and cheese with eggs, heavy cream and sharp cheddar cheese. There’s no denying it’s irresistible!
This slow-cooked chicken from Kevin Curry works in so many different dishes, which makes it great for meal prep. Whether you’re making tacos or stuffed bell peppers, it’s something that you’ll enjoy all week long.
Using a sheet pan for vegetables, fish and honey mustard makes this a one-pan meal, so there’s less clean up after prepping. It’s also great for solo suppers, according to Klancy Miller, because it’s easy to buy a single serving and it doesn’t take much time to cook.
Griot is a rich, flavorful dish that is one of Haiti’s most popular foods. It’s quick and easy to serve at parties and family gatherings. In Cherven Desauguste’s version, cubes of pork are soaked in a sour orange marinade and then slow-roasted until tender. The tender morsels are then given a final fry in oil until delectably caramelized.
Brian Donnelly / Donnelly Studios, LLC.
Smothered chicken is a time-honored tradition in the South. This updated, healthier version from Carla Hall isn’t just cooked completely in the oven for a perfect weeknight meal, but it’s fall-off-the-bone delicious. All you have to do before serving is smash the garlic and onion to make a light pan sauce to spoon over the chicken.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Ideal for cold winter days, this nourishing, tomato-based, white wine seafood stew from Jernard Wells is filled with delicate orzo and protein-packed shrimp. With a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, it hits the spot every time.
You don’t have to miss out on delicious, melt-in-your-mouth brisket just because you don’t have a smoker, says Phil “The Grill” Johnson. Making the tasty meat in an Instant Pot cuts down on the cooking time and seals in all the savory flavors.
According to Ace Champion, this is hands down one of the best seafood sandwiches he has ever eaten. The tangy, tart and creamy remoulade perks up the crispy, sweet fried shrimp and the satisfying crunch of the slaw brings it all together.
Have you ever enjoyed a sourdough chocolate chip cookie? Well, there’s no time like the present. According to Bryan Ford, quarantine’s favorite baking project imparts a distinguished flavor in the cookies that makes them funky, smooth and delicious all at once.
There’s nothing better than a pile of fluffy pancakes to start the day — especially from Sunny Anderson. All you need is a bit of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup to finish them off. But should you feel inspired, you can also amp them up with chocolate chips, peanut butter, broken candy bars, crumbled cookies, crushed candy canes, chopped crisped bacon, cooked sausage or any other tasty add-ins
If the photo for Maya-Camille Broussard’s chess pie didn’t get you gathering ingredients in your kitchen already, the description of its warm, salted caramel sauce with chocolaty, espresso filling certainly will.
Courtesy Jocelyn Delk Adams
This authentic gooey butter cake from Jocelyn Delk Adams has a chewy blondie texture bottom topped with a custardy cream cheese layer of perfection. It is the true, original St. Louis classic.
This one bowl, one-layer carrot cake from Vallery Lomas is the perfect “mix-and-bake” dessert for novices and skilled bakers alike. It’s packed full of flavor from cozy spices like cinnamon and vanilla, and it’s also got texture from toasty nuts. The frosting is super creamy and not a traditional buttercream because it’s butter-free — just cream cheese, powdered sugar and flavorings. The cake is super moist because it uses oil, and the fresh carrots add moisture, too.
These sweet vegan breakfast treats are sweet enough to make you remember what a mess you’d make with the icing from a cinnamon roll as a little kid, according to Jenné Clairborne. They’re also delicious enough to put your “healthy diet” rules on suspension for a few minutes, and then reject any bit of regret.