There's a variety of ingredients that can be used in this okra stew. The only essential one is probably okra (I use two pounds of the cut frozen variety in this recipe). In this example, I'll be preparing a chicken okra stew, but feel free to experiment with seafood (like oysters and crab or shrimp) or a vegetarian (stir-fried eggplant is fun to try) version. Start by preparing two pounds of chicken breast (about one whole breast) into rough 1/2 in. cubes. Also rough cut two green bell peppers and three ribs of celery, and finely chop one bunch of scallions (about 3/4 cup). Not show here, I also cut two medium onions into 1 in. pieces. (My eyes were watering, so I plastic wrapped the bowl and set it aside - forgetting to photograph it.)
Next, cut one pound smoked sausage such as andouille or kielbasa into bite size pieces. Make sure you use Cajun andouille, not French (which is made of tripe and usually is not smoked and is not spicy). Apply 1 Tbs. oil to a pan and heat. Over gentle heat, brown the sausage. The sausage should have enough oil so the pan doesn't dry up while cooking. (If not, add a little more oil.)
Meanwhile, pour 4 14 oz. cans of low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth into a large pot. Then add eight cups of water, cover, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
Hopefully, the broth is boiling at this point. (If not, use this opportunity to saute the okra until golden. Saute the celery as well if the broth isn't boiling yet.) Pour the chopped okra into the broth along with the sauteed onions, bell peppers, and celery. When the mixture begins to boil again, add the chicken and bring the heat down to maintain a simmer. Stirring occasionally, simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. (The sausage can be added at this point if you don't like salty sausage. The flavor will infuse into the soup. Adding the sausage later will maintain more of the flavor concentrated in the sausage and less spread out in the soup.)
After the soup has thickened (it should form strings when poured slowly from a ladle) and the chicken cooked, add the finely chopped scallions with the sausage. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for five additional minutes.
The final okra stew is served great over rice, but (if seasoned with a light hand) is also an excellent soup for cold winter days. Adding hot sauce or ground chile to the broth is a great way to spice up this dish.}?>
Okra Stew (makes about six quarts or 5.5 L)
|1 lb. (450 g) smoked sausage||cut||saute||simmer 5 min.|
|2 lb. (900 g) chicken breast||cube||saute||simmer 30 min.|
|2 medium onions||chop||saute|
|2 lb. okra||chop||saute|
|3 celery ribs||chop||saute|
|2 medium bell peppers||chop|
|56 oz. to 64 oz. (1.9 L) chicken broth||boil|
|8 cups (1.9 L) water|
|3/4 cup (75 g) scallions||finely chop|