Thursday, March 25, 2010

Experiencing Okra

Okra is a real Southern vegetable and true to my Texas roots, I’ve always been a sucker for it. Fried, pickled, stewed, pretty much anyway it’s made, I’m eager to explore. Yet, in all my explorations, I have never attempted to cook it myself. Like so many things in life, true appreciation comes from experience. So into the kitchen I went, ready to cook.

Of course, cooking okra is not for the meek. Scratch that. Cooking it is easy, it’s the preparation that’s unsettling. Nothing can prepare you for the slimy aftermath left by a pound of sliced okra. It is unseemly. Consequently, okra does not beget many superlatives in its raw form. Fortunately, a big pot of stewed okra and tomatoes is far more charming. Nothing is as enticing as the aroma of okra, onions and tomatoes simmering away on the stovetop. The resulting dish is wonderfully complex and savory with a slow burn that you'll want to experience for yourself.

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes, Adapted from Martha Stewart's Stewed Okra and Tomatoes


2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, sliced into half-moons

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 lbs of tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 lb of okra, stems removed and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt

1/2 tsp of freshly cracked pepper


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to release some of their liquid. This will take about 2 minutes. Season with kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover the pot so that the mixture simmers gently. Cook for an hour and a half or until the okra is tender.

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