[Photograph: Paige Green]

Bryan Terry's hominy and spinach soup in his new cookbook, Afro-Vegan, melds ingredients from Nigeria and North America. Its flavor profile is strictly Nigerian, with plenty of spinach, garlic, and slow-cooked tomatoes. Humble American hominy is added in two stages: one part is simmered in the broth, turning soft and adding a bit of starchiness to the otherwise delicate broth, while the other is fried and added at the end. Terry starts with his rich homemade vegetable stock, which adds an undercurrent of cabbage, carrot, and celery to the backbone of the broth. But the highlight of the dish is the last-minute garnish of crisp, fried hominy. The grain caramelizes and sweetens, tasting at once of movie popcorn and stone-ground grits.

Why I picked this recipe: It's hard to go wrong when you're cooking with hominy.

What worked: It is amazing that such a simple broth—tomatoes, garlic, and a bit of carrot—could be so flavorful. Its sweet tanginess pairs wonderfully with the earthy hominy. Take your time to make each element (including the vegetable broth) from scratch and you won't be disappointed.

What didn't: Be very careful when you fry the hominy. It will pop and splatter. Use the deepest saucepan you've got to help contain the oil.

Suggested tweaks: While Terry calls for small hominy, you can use whichever size of the grain you can find. I had the best luck finding dried hominy at a Mexican grocery store.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Afro-Vegan to give away this week.


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