Our tomatoes, like many in the area are doing terrible. Were aren’t getting the volumes we usually get as many are rotting on the vine and the ones we pick quickly develop disease issues that must be cut out. As a result our tomato canning has been limited and we’re finding other uses for them, such as the pasta sauce the other day and the stewed okra and tomatoes for this meal.
We usually just cook the tomatoes and okra along with onions and green peppers, but I wanted to kick them up and so I searched the web and came up with several recipes, including some for gumbo. So I took a few things from them and came up with this one.
· 4 slices bacon
· 2 medium onions, diced
· 2 medium bell peppers, diced
· 1 jalapeno finely diced, with seeds
· 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
· 2 quarts cooked fresh tomatoes
· 2 teaspoon chicken base
· 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
· 2 tsp dried basil
· 2 tsp dried thyme
· 2 bay leaves
· 3 teaspoons Emeril’s Essence (w/ double cayenne)
· 2½ pounds sliced okra
· 3 tsp kosher salt
In a large pot, cook down tomatoes until you can tell you have about 2 quarts (or use two quarts of canned or less to your taste). Meanwhile, dice and render bacon in a sauté pan, cooking until crisp. Remove from pan, reserving drippings in the pan. Add onion, sweet pepper, jalapeno, and garlic to the pan with bacon fat and saute over medium heat until tender. When tomatoes are ready, add sauteed items and all remaining ingredients, except okra, to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring to avoid burning. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes (less for canned tomatoes), stirring occasionally. Add okra and let stew until tender. If using canned tomatoes, you can do everything in the same pot and add the tomatoes after the veggies are sauteed.
This is the recipe we ended with not the one to start – for example we doubled the tomatoes because Bev likes lots. We usually just eat it in a bowl, but I suggested we have it over some rice tonight. Bev initially agreed, but later said she’d really rather have it over macaroni and since it’s a lot like pasta sauce, it made sense to me, plus I’ll nearly always take pasta over rice.
We sided it with some smoked chicken thighs we had in the freezer from the last BBQ day. I let them thaw to a cool temperature then nuked to warm the inside a little. I, then, tossed them on the grill and when the skin was crispy I brushed with some Pee Dee Rivers Swamp Sauce (BBQ sauce). I need to start putting BBQ sauce on everything – I must have 15 varieties that I bought just to try.
Here’s my plate. I added some pasta to the bowl, then topped with okra and grated parmesan.
After a little mixing.
Bev advised I did it wrong and fixed it by dumping the macaroni in with the okra – why didn’t I think of that. She's a big fan of turning hers into one dish meals by adding the meat to whatever. She did this for this meal and kept commenting how much she liked the smoky chicken flavor.
The stewed okra turned out to be the best we’ve made with a nice heat, but just a little too much herbage for eating alone - but perfect over the pasta. I believe I’d cut the basil and thyme to 1½ tsps each for eating without the pasta or rice.
When I smoke chicken that I know is going into the freezer for reheating, I cook it to a lower temperature so it won’t be over cooked during reheating. For instance I pull the breasts off about 160* and the thighs at 170*. This gives me about 10 degrees to play with for heat carryover after pulling and additional cooking during reheating – which makes them come out just right.
We have a big pot of the stewed okra left so I can envision it for the next several lunches – I doubt I will add an egg and turn it into a breakfast though.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.