When okra shows up at farmers' markets, I crave gumbo. Although you can make the hearty stew with frozen okra, I've always waited for the fresh, local crop. Make extra to freeze some to have when the weather cools down. It's sooooo satisfying and yummy.
And it uses other peak-of-season produce, too: pepper, onion, garlic and tomatoes, plus thyme and parsley.
Recipe: Seafood and Chicken Gumbo
1 lb. okra, trimmed and sliced (about 4 cups)
4 T canola oil or butter, or a mix, divided
1 medium green pepper, diced (1 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 T flour
4 cups chicken stock, heated
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 T each chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried) and parsley
1 large bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 lb. uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined), crabmeat, or chicken (boneless, skinless, cut into bite-size pieces), or any combination of these
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Tabasco or other hot sauce, or more to taste
1. Heat 2T oil/butter over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add okra and sauté, stirring often, for about 8-10 minutes until “roping” (thin strands of white substance) subsides. Set aside.
2. Heat remaining oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pepper, garlic and onion and sauté until veggies turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, herbs, salt, and reserved okra.
4. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5. Stir in shrimp, chicken and/or crabmeat, cover and cook another 5-10 minutes until meat is tender. Be careful not to overcook shrimp.
6. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf, stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Add more salt if necessary.
7. Ladle into bowls over white or brown rice. Pass more hot sauce at the table.
Note: To kick up the flavor a bit, you can add one large Andouille sausage, diced, during step 2.