Pantry/freezer vegetarian gumbo

February 11, 2007 at 7:57 am (Caribbean, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

It’s hard to get fresh okra in the North, even in the summer. But I love okra so sometimes just give in and buy sliced frozen okra. It’s too wet to make fried okra with it, but it works really well for any kind of stew. Making a stew out of frozen okra is actually super easy and amazingly tasty, and requires no fresh ingredients (although they can be added if you have them, of course).

The “recipe”

I usually just throw one bag of frozen okra (a pound? 3 cups?) in a pot with a 14-ounce can of diced or whole Muir Glen tomatoes (wtih all the juice). I add spices and let it stew for a bit until warm. The spices vary–sometimes cayenne, or paprika, or cumin, or the Turkish seasoning from Penzey’s. I usually don’t add salt as the tomatoes are salty enough. Sometimes I’ll add some onion or garlic to the pot as well, or throw in some frozen corn kernels or diced bell peppers or some lima beans (if I’m feeling adventurous–lima beans kind of scare me).

Last night I added some gumbo file and a heaping spoon of old bay seasoning, which a friend gave me. Both Derek and I really enjoyed it–he said it tasted like gumbo, but since I’ve never had gumbo I can’t really comment.

I’ve followed recipes for vegetarian gumbo from a number of cookbooks, and I’ve always found them really bland. This simple recipe is way better than any gumbo recipe I’ve tried!

You could make this dish with fresh okra as well, but I never do, because it seems like a waste. I usually save my fresh okra for “fried” okra or that great Pakistani dish from Madhur Jaffrey.

1 Comment

  1. Susan said,

    I think that fried okra adulterates the okra.
    My favorite is to steam it in a half inch water and just pop the okras into your mouth.

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