Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Twisted Family Favorite

The other day while walking Chinatown I stumbled across a vegetable stand that had the most beautiful produce. The ripe, red tomatoes and firm, green proud okra stood out and I couldn't help myself. I purchased a pound of each and ran home to make one of my favorite dishes.

I grew up eating "stewed" okra and tomatoes. It's one of my favorite dishes. Sometimes, especially on a Friday, there was shrimp in but most of the time it was just a gumbo spooned over rice or hot grits. Following is my "update" vegetarian version, vegetable oil replaces bacon grease, scallions replace white onion, garlic is added, celery removed.  The dish is hearty and flavorful. Play with the seasoning until you get it just so.
heat a caste iron pot over a medium flame
add 4 tablespoons of veggie oil 
4 chopped cloves of garlic
4 chopped scallions
1/2 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt &  1/4 teaspoon black pepper
(sometimes I add 1/4 teaspoon white pepper too!)
stir until seasonings release, onions and green peppers are soft and "cooked
remove veggies to a bowl
into same pot add 3-4 tablespoons white flour to make a roux
continuely stir flour mixture until "roux" is dark brown
(sometimes I let it be a roux blanc, or white roux, since this is a veggie based dish)
one roux is ready return garlic, onions and green pepper to pot

add 1lb chopped okra
1 lb chopped cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

stir everything together
add 1 cup warm water
stir, lower heat, cover and let cook for 30 minutes
check and stir every 10 minutes or so, adding more water if need
the okra will thicken the stew
the longer and slower this cooks the better it tastes
Serve over rice or polenta cakes (corn cakes) or hot grits
If you reheat the dish try adding clean, fresh shrimp to the pot


Dori said...

This sounds so tasty! I'm gonna have to try it. I love okra, so this will be right up my alley :)

Simone said...

Save some to deep fry in pepper and salt corn meal/flour mixture..

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