From Garden to Gumbo

Okra is my new favorite vegetable and the star of the vegetable garden this hot, humid, record setting summer. Why do you think southerners love it so? Okra thrives in the heat. I can hear you now… oooh, I don’t like okra- too slimy. Don’t worry. It’s the goo that makes gumbo glorious.

Chicken Gumbo

Prepare the Chicken:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. coarse steak salt

5 chicken breasts, thinly sliced

1/4 cup butter

Combine the flour and spices and put in a plastic bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag and shake until all of the chicken is coated.

Heat the butter in a heavy cast iron pot until it just starts to brown. Remove the coated chicken from the flour and add it to the hot pan. Discard the remaining flour mixture. (You will end up using, practically all of it to coat the chicken). Cook on medium high heat until the chicken is brown on all sides. Remove to another bowl.

Make the Stew:

6-7 cups fresh okra, sliced

6-7 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped

3  peppers, chopped (I used New Mexican peppers for a little heat)

3-4 green onions with tops, chopped

3 small cloves of garlic, chopped

2 quarts chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Add a little olive oil to the hot pan and add all of the chopped vegetables except the garlic. Saute until just tender. Add the garlic and heat just a moment. Add the browned chicken back to the pot and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer until everything is perfect, about 45 minutes. Serve over brown rice and add chopped Italian parsley.