You had me at ‘okra’. I love okra. Grilled, fried, sauteed, roasted… or tossed into this Creole-style bean soup. The okra helps thicken up the broth and adds such a great flavor. All the flavors of a gumbo, along with some hearty beans to boot. Easy to make and fantastic on a cold day.
I don’t add the shrimp to the entire pot of soup if I’m not going to eat the entire batch at once. Reheated shrimp are not my favorite thing. They get too tough. Instead, I transfer some of the soup (just enough for dinner) to a separate pot and then add the shrimp. It’s a bit more trouble but I think it’s worth it. I could leave out the shrimp entirely and still have a great soup, but it wouldn’t be the same, that’s for sure.
Also try my smoked turkey and file gumbo pie.
Creole-Style Bean Soup
Servings 6 -8 servings
- 3 15 ounce cans beans, rinsed and drained (I used kidney, red and cannellini)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 14 ounces smoked sausage sliced thin, browned first if desired
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- A few shakes of hot sauce
- A few pinches of dried red pepper flake
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 pound frozen sliced okra
- 1 cup small medium shrimp shelled and deveined
Place all ingredients except the okra and shrimp into a large pot or Dutch oven.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 45 minutes.
Add the okra and shrimp.
Return to a boil and boil for 5 minutes then reduce again to a simmer and simmer until the shrimp are done.
I was toodling around the house the other day, with the TV on in the background. A young lady said something about “okra giardiniera”. I instantly stopped what I was doing. I grabbed the Tivo remote and backed the show up a bit to see what exactly “okra giardiniera” was.
The show was Kimberly’s Simply Southern on the GAC network, and Miss Kimberly (from the country group Little Big Town) was making hot dogs topped with okra giardiniera. I made it too. I had to. Because it has okra in it.
It takes 2 days to make the mix, so don’t get in too big of a big rush. But it is so worth the time. The end result is lightly pickled (not too strong on the vinegar), with a little oil (almost like an olive salad), and a lot crunchy. And don’t fear the okra slime… you can rinse almost all of it away after the first day. Personally, I’ll eat okra any time, any way, full slime or not (see my Southern fried okra and my okra and tomatoes).
Oh, and I went with bigger cuts on the veggies just to get more crunch. That’s just me, you can make them as big or as small as you want.
Next up, I’m going to top a muffuletta sandwich with this giardiniera. I know it’ll be outstanding!
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup sliced fresh okra frozen okra, thawed works just fine
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 3-6 jalapeños seeded (if desired), diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded, diced
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the salt, okra, carrots, jalapeños, garlic, celery and red bell peppers into a resealable container. Add enough cold water to just cover the vegetables. Seal and place in the fridge overnight.
Pour the mixture into a caldron and rinse well. You can mix the vegetables a bit to get them really rinsed well (read: remove any okra slime), but don't be too aggressive or all of the tasty okra seeds will fly out.
Return vegetables to the resealable container.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, oregano, and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and stir gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The giardiniera is ready to use the next stay. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I grew up eating a lot of okra. My dad is from Arkansas, and okra is quite popular in our family. It was almost always prepared the same way: into a frying pan with oil, cornmeal, salt and pepper. No dredging, just into the pan. And it came out crunchy good. I loved it. So, I was a little skeptical when I ran across this recipe for southern fried okra. It uses flour instead of cornmeal. I was thinking there might not be as much crunch as I remembered from all those times make okra. Well, I have to say my skepticism was completely unwarranted.
This southern fried okra came out absolutely fantastic. Light, crunchy, delicious. I served it as a side, but it was better than fried pickles so I’d not hesitate to serve it as an appetizer (with a nice southwestern dipping sauce, perhaps).
I also love my okra grilled. Just brush them with a bit of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss them onto the grill until done!
Southern Fried Okra
- 1 pound okra ends cut off, sliced into 1/2" rounds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon spicy Cajun seasoning
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Vegetable oil for frying
In a pie plate, combine the flour and seasoning.
In another pie plate, whisk the egg with the milk.
Heat 1" of oil in a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet to 375 F.
Working in batches, place okra into the egg mixture and stir to coat well.
Shake off excess batter and place okra in flour mixture. Toss to coat well.
Shake off excess flour and add okra to oil. Do not overcrowd.
Let cook until golden brown on one side. Flip and cook until browned on the other side.
Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and continue cooking remaining okra.