Okra is the last vegetable left in the garden. It loves the dry and heat and comes on like gangbusters. Of African origin, it can be eaten many ways. Lately, I see it salted and dried whole in containers, but I've yet to try it.
I have deep southern roots; my mother and her family were from Louisiana. Where I live now, okra is mostly dredged in cornmeal and flour and fried. Farther 'down south' it is eaten stewed with tomatoes or in my favorite dish, Gumbo.
I slice it and put it in a freezer bag and toss it in the freezer. Some dredge it in their favorite mixture then freeze it to fry later. This Gumbo recipe is the real deal, straight from New Orleans. I make so much of it, I freeze what is left for later and it is just as good as the day I made it. So here it is.
New Orleans Gumbo
Make a roux with bacon grease and flour. I use about 1/2 cup grease to 1 cup flour. You want to cook the roux till it is golden to amber in color and the consistency of gravy. ADD 2 lbs. of sliced okra and cook down for about 15 minutes.
ADD 2-3 cups of chopped onions
1 cup chopped green
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 TB. minced garlic
Cook 10 minutes more then ADD 1 1/2cups chopped tomatoes
ADD 2 quarts cold water. Mix ingredients. ADD 1 whole chicken that has been boiled and pulled from the bones.
3 whole bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
5 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 TBS. lemon juice
10 whole allspice
8 whole cloves
1 tsp. mace
Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for one hour. Stir from time to time and stir bottom of pan to keep from scorching. At the end of the hour, add another 1/2 quart of water and a package of sliced polska kielbasa or your favorite kind of sausage. Cook 15 minutes more and serve over your favorite rice.
POINTER'S - I've used the water that I cooked the chicken in or added chicken bouillon to the brew. I don't like chomping on the cloves and allspice so I use it ground up. And, since I rarely measure, certainly adjust the spices to your taste. I usually use more than the recipe calls for. I've also added shrimp and crab at the last few minutes of cooking. I don't think you can mess this recipe up.