Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

Okra may not be a typical dish found on many New York family tables, but down south, okra is certainly a summertime tradition.  With deep roots stretching back generations, okra has been cultivated and used in Southern cooking since perhaps the 18th century.  With African roots, the plant has been a staple of southern soul food for ages, and has worked its way into the broader world of southern cooking, particularly in Louisiana where many food cultures collide.

{Recipe after the jump.}

Whether dredged in cornmeal and fried to a crisp, stewed in an all day gumbo, or pickled to a perfect sour brine, okra is a great part of any summertime meal. This week, we will be using our okra along with some kitchen staples and tomatoes to make a simple stewed okra and tomatoes dish that can liven up any dinner.

Even though some people may have trepidation about bad, slimy okra stories, don’t worry: Okra, when prepared well, is not as slimy as its reputation would have you believe, especially when it is stewed with other ingredients.  In fact, it’s the ingredient I’m most excited about as part of the CSA this time of year.  When your refrigerators are overflowing with zucchini, okra is a welcome change.  Note that the colors of the okra pods can vary, from a deep redish-puple to a lighter green.  These are all perfectly safe to eat and the varied colors do not appear to affect the flavor. — Adam Gregory

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

Servings: 6

Cooking time: around 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 container CSA okra
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (preferably the fire roasted type if available)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼  tps Creole seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat 1 Tbs of olive oil in a medium size pot over medium low heat.  Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook for around 10 minutes until the vegetables begin to brown.

2. Add the garlic, okra, and creole seasoning and cook for 3-4 minutes.  The okra will begin to turn bright green and start to release some of its liquid.  This is good, since the slimy liquid will evaporate now and you’ll end up with a less slimy product in the end.

3. Add 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth, 1 bay leaf, and 1 can of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for around 25 minutes.  Okra should be tender but still have texture and no longer be slimy.

4. Check for seasoning.  Serve with rice if desired.

Enjoy!

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