A southern classic with a bite.
Okra, okra, ochre, ladies’ fingers or gumbo, whatever you want to call this elegant looking vegetable or fruit, it sure makes an interesting soup.
When we cook the okra it goes all slimy and gooey. To minimise the slimy bit, you can shorten the cooking time or use an acid base (tomatoes) to cook it in.
The local version (jambo or guiambo) is an okra based soup, very thick and slimy, you either like it or you don’t 😉
What you’ll need for a pot of okra soup:
– 300 grams fresh okra
– 1 large onion, finely diced
– 1 garlic cloves
– 2 bay leaves
– 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
– ½ teaspoon paprika powder
– salt and black pepper
– 500 grams chunks of beef, preferably with bone and marrow
– 1 can chopped tomatoes
– 1 madame Jeanette or other fragrant chili
Season your beef chunks with salt and pepper. Heat up some olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan (le Crueset), add the meat in batches to brown.
Remove the browned meat from the pan and set aside.
When all the meat has browned and removed from the pan, you can turn down the heat and add your finely diced onion, garlic and celery and the paprika powder. The vegetables will “clean” the bottom of the pan if you keep stirring, this way you create a lovely base for a broth.
Crush the bay leaves for extra flavour and add them together wit the meat to the pan. Give it all a quick stir and add the canned tomatoes. Fill the empty can twice with water and add this to the soup. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour or until the meat is nice and soft. Keep an eye on the soup, it might need some more water half way through the cooking.
Wash and remove the stalks from the okra. Slice the pods and add it all to the soup once it has come back to a boil. Cook the okra for about 10 minutes or until soft.
Wash and finely slice the madame Jeanette chili (you might want to wear some kitchen-gloves) and add to the soup.
A quick stir and a last check for salt and pepper. Serve with some crusty (corn-)bread or funchi (local corn based type of polenta).