A pot of smothered okra for gumbo is prepared with a medley of vegetables. This traditional Cajun stew is a flavorful base that thickens a gumbo taking the place of a classic flour and oil roux. It's a timesaver stored in the freezer, sitting ready when there's a need for a pot of okra gumbo.
What's Smothered Okra For Gumbo?
Every summer, Mama would gather a mess of fresh okra. She'd chop the okra along with the Cajun trinity and a few other vegetables. Then she'd throw them into her large magnalite pot and stir over medium heat until every ingredient was cooked down to perfection.
The reason for making such a big batch was to keep individual packages in her freezer to make gumbo throughout the year. This way, all she had to do was defrost a bag and heat it up before adding meat and/or seafood, then add broth and water to simmer the flavors together. In half an hour, dinner was ready!
Okra may seem like a strange ingredient for gumbo, but it's a delicious thickener that pairs well with chicken and seafood. It's also a healthier substitute for people who are sensitive to gluten which is found in an oil and flour roux.
Like any other cajun kitchen in Acadiana, it's crucial to keep a freezer stocked with this vegetable medley. It sure is convenient during those cold, wet winters that make one cry out for a hot bowl of gumbo.
But of course, you don't have to be a Cajun to enjoy having a freezer full of stewed okra! Nor do you need special skills or appliances.
Stewing The Okra
It's such a simple and rewarding process. We begin with cooking the okra for about an hour or until it is no longer slimy.
Then onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, and tomatoes are added to the okra to cook more until they are browned and smothered together. Season with salt and cayenne pepper, and it's ready for gumbo.
A good idea is to make a batch of this Creole Seasoning Blend Recipe to use in place of the trinity and garlic. Make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer when needed. You only need about 4 cups of it in this gumbo recipe.
After the vegetables cool, you can proceed to make gumbo or store it in plastic bags. A vacuum sealer for plastic bag storage, like this Omote vacuum sealer machine, is an excellent way to package stewed vegetables. It's not complicated to use, and it's easy to store.
See how simple it is to smother okra? You'll find the aroma, while it's cooking, is a delicious delight, too. You can also serve this same tasty okra dish as a healthy side next to most entrees.
Make It Your Own
My favorite is Shrimp Okra Gumbo, but it's delicious with shrimp and crab, chicken and shrimp, or just chicken and sausage. I like using a package of chicken thighs to make things simpler but use your own favorite ingredients.
More Gumbo Recipes And Sides To Go With Them
- Seafood Gumbo
- Shrimp Okra Gumbo
- Chicken Gumbo, Simply Classic Cajun
- Everyday Rice Every Day
- Plain Potato Salad
Smothered Okra, For Gumbo
Smothered Okra For Gumbo is a Cajun stew of vegetables that deliciously thicken gumbo instead of a traditional oil and flour roux.
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 - 2 cup packages 1x
- 16 cups fresh or frozen okra, sliced or chopped
- ¼ cup oil, canola, or vegetable
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 6 pods garlic, pressed
- 2 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes or 4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- .5 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Place a large, heavy pot on a burner and pour the oil into it to heat.
- Add okra to the pot and cook on medium/low heat, occasionally stirring; careful not to burn okra.
- Cook until okra is no longer slimy, which takes about an hour.
- Add onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, and tomatoes, and cook for 20 minutes more or until vegetables are soft.
- Season with salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
- Let cool and store 2 cup servings in freezer containers; see notes.
- This recipe can be easily divided for smaller amounts of okra.
- Use 2 cups of smothered okra per 2 pounds of seafood or meat for gumbo in place of roux.
- Smothered okra can also be served as a tasty appetizer or side dish.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Category: side dish, gumbo
- Method: stew
- Cuisine: Cajun
Keywords: smothered okra for gumbo, smothered okra
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God doesn't break things so He can fix them; He fixes broken things so He can use them.Bob Goff