okra creole

okra creole

 
 
With the first of the summer’s okra arriving in my CSA, and my own first few pods ready from my okra plant, I was at a loss as to how to cook them. Fry them? Put them in a curry? Stewed them with tomatoes? Make gumbo? I ruled out the first two, as we’ve eaten several curries and a good share of fried vegetables so far this summer. Gumbo takes so long to cook that I didn’t find that very appealing in the heat of summer. That left stewed okra and tomatoes. Instead of playing it straight, I decided to give them a spicy treatment in a dish that resembles a vegetarian spin on shrimp creole. This can even be made vegan if you leave off the butter and increase the olive oil. Now, if that’s not your thing and you want to be truly decadent, you could always skip the butter and olive oil, render fat from a little bacon, and cook the vegetables in a couple tablespoons of that, then crumble the bacon over the top before serving.
 
okra creole
  • 1 T butter
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lbs okra, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes or 2 pounds diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 T sugar, optional if using fresh tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T cayenne pepper sauce; Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce, if you have it
  • sea salt and pepper
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • a couple tablespoons minced green onions

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat until the butter is melted and the oil is hot. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook this until they are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce the flame a little and add the garlic. Saute all this together until the garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes more. Then add the okra and turn the heat back to medium high. Season with the Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper, and cook another 5-7 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, and add the sugar, bay leaves, water, and cayenne pepper sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then taste and check your seasonings. Add more salt, sugar, or hot sauce as needed, until sauce tastes full-bodied and well-rounded. Let simmer another few minutes, then stir in most of your chopped parsley. Serve over white or brown rice, and sprinkle each dish with a little more parsley and some green onions.

Serves 4-6.

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One thought on “okra creole

  1. Sounds good to me. I’m not sure if I can get my kids to eat it though. Okra is one of my biggest challenges. I usually default to the curry.

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