Saturday, May 30, 2009

Heritage and Okra Stew



As I was trolling recipes on the internet this week, after a trip to the Farmer's Market and my purchase of a pound of fresh cut okra pods, I started thinking about ethnicity, heritage and okra. I love okra just about any way you can prepare it. Being raised in the South, we added it to soup and gumbo, and of course cut into discs and then deep- fried (the only way I could interest my girls in okra, when they were young-- and that was only after telling them it was like eating popped corn!). Okra is known by many other names in many other cultures. I know of at least two: bammies and lady fingers. One of my very favorite ways of eating okra is a stew of okra, corn, and tomatoes. One always knew, when that combination started showing up on the dinner table, or on the menu of a home-cooking restaurant, that those three crops were in from the fields. I digressed and got carried away. Thanks readers, for the indulgence. Back to this week, when I was looking at a Greek Food Blog this week, there it was, a very similar dish. I am not Greek, but really guys, I was amazed at just how similar the recipe was. The only difference: in the Greek dish, potatoes were added, where we always used corn. So, there was an ah ha moment and the small red skinned potatoes were added with the corn and we loved it. We're not all that different after all, are we? Good food always finds itself onto the table, no matter who you are, where you are or where you came from.

Okra, Corn and Tomato Stew

2 medium yellow onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 lb of okra, stems removed, trimmed
1/2 cup plum tomatoes, hand-crushed, or use one 15 oz can tomatoes broken up
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
5-6 allspice berries
2 cups of vegetable stock (chicken stock works too)
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 small red potatoes, leave skin on if you like
2 ears cooked or uncooked corn, kernels cut from the cob, or a small can of whole niblets

1. In a pot over medium-high heat, saute onion slices in olive oil for 5 minutes or until they are sweated. Cover,
reduce the heat to medium and and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
2. Add okra, corn, crushed tomatoes, parsley, garlic, allspice and vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
3. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for about twenty minutes.
Add potatoes (whole) and continue to simmer, until potatoes are fork tender,about 20-30 minutes


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