Growing up, I have always had Okra and Meat Stew that my Mom makes. After many trials, I acquired and started to like the taste and texture of okras. I still have her stew whenever she’s had a chance to make some for her and my Dad.
Okra stew is not really an entertainment dish; I would say it’s more of a budget friendly everyday comfort food, specially when served over rice. The only time I get a chance on having some is when I happen to be there to pick up my girls and there is some that she has saved for me.
Since I have been so used to my Mom always making Okra Stew, I never cared to makes some for myself… Not until I was studying recipes from one of my cookbooks, New Greek Cuisine, Jim Botsacos – I started tasting the flavors of his recipe and wanted to try making his version. I did for the most part follow the recipe, with some alterations on using fresh tomatoes and staying vegan. Hope Chef Jim won’t mind.
I was super happy with the results and honestly I think it’s a great alternative to my Mom’s version. Other plus signs are that it is a healthy dish to share with my family of 4. For the most part, my kids tried it and ate the okra.
See… it’s not easy to be a Mom that loves to cook, because at times it’s challenging when you want to make something but you know your kids might not want to eat…. and all your efforts have gone to waste. I do try for the most part to think of them when I am preparing a meal. But I also want to make sure I expose them to all the vegetables that I grew up having. I don’t care if they grow up not liking to eat squid, but I want to make sure they like eating all their veggies.
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lb fresh okra, trimmed
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 onion, julienne
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/2 tsp dried Greek Oregano
- 1/4 tsp Aleppo Pepper
- 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- salt and aleppo pepper to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the okra and saute for about 3 minutes, or until lightly colored. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining okra. Set the okra aside.
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until very soft. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for 3 minutes, or until the onion begins to caramelize lightly. Add the oregano and Aleppo pepper, stirring to blend. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and dilute it with 2 cups water by stirring. Bring to tomato broth to boil. Then add the okra and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the okra is almost tender. Fold in the olives and parsley.
Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.