The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Okra And Pepper Medley

October 14th, 2009 · No Comments · Posted in garden, Recipes

Last of the season

Last of the season

Regular readers will be heartbroken to learn that this is the end of our okra for the year. I know, I know. It hardly seems possible. It seems like we were just getting started on the endless possibilities of okra. But the sad truth is impossible to deny: the season is over. There will be no more okra this year.

But what an incredible vegetable okra has been for us. It feeds us. And feeds us. And feeds us. A single row of plants–just 29 of them–has been supplying enough okra for a couple of meals each week since July, as well as several quarts of pickles. This started when the plants were just a couple of feet high (we had a cool, wet spring). Our largest specimen is now more the seven feet tall. It has sprouted some gigantic pods, which I am allowing to mature for next year’s seed.

Last night I intended to make one more pot of our beloved smothered okra with onions and green pepper, tomatoes and corn. But I noticed a bowl of assorted peppers on the counter, all the odds and ends we’ve been collecting from the garden as summer fades into memory. I thought, why not use them all (or at least some of each.) So in addition to a small green bell pepper, into the pot went a small red bell pepper, and several yellow banana peppers, and a jalapeno pepper and a couple of our mildly hot red lantern peppers (the one we don’t know where it came from).

The final dish was so much better than any smothered okra we’ve made before, I’m not sure how we will ever go back to the original recipe. The procedure is the same, except that more and more for these kinds of braised vegetable dishes we are using coconut oil instead of extra-virgin olive oil. Coconut oil is a saturated fat but a rare medium-chain fatty acid that’s highly beneficial. If you have some on hand, by all means use it. It imparts a subtle but delicious coconut flavor. Otherwise, use your favorite olive oil.

Simply cut the onions and peppers into medium dice and sweat them in the oil in a heavy pot until they are soft after seasoning them well with salt. Then add about two dozen okra pods, cut on an angle into half-inch slices. At this point I would normally add a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes with its juices to the pot. The dish requires no further liquid. But I had about a dozen perfectly ripe, golf-ball sized tomatoes left over from a catering job. So I removed the skins by plunging them in batches in a pot of boiling water, then in a bowl of cold water. I then diced them and added them to the pot, along with about 2/3 cup of frozen corn kernels.

Cover the pot and continue to cook over low heat until the okra is completely cooked through and soft, about 20 minutes. We had some of this last night on the side with hamburgers, and this morning I topped some off with fried eggs. This will last us the rest of the week. Then we can moan and groan for a few months about no more okra.

But wait! I have some in the freezer!

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