Tag Archives: Okra

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo 5522

I’ve slowly but surely discovered over the years that it’s best to not ignore cravings. Like parking tickets, you can try and pretend it didn’t happen, but they don’t ever really go away until you do something about them. At least for me, it’s better to just eat the one cookie instead of obsessively thinking about cookies for several days and then eating twelve of them.

Andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5538

So a couple weeks ago, when I noticed a mad craving for gumbo, I thought it best to just find a recipe and make some gumbo. And when I came across a recipe for a gumbo with pumpkin (!!!) I was ecstatic, because how completely perfect is this for fall!

andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5549

This is going to be a departure from the dishes I’ve posted this week, all of which would be more than welcome at your Thanksgiving table in a few weeks. This is probably a bit heavy for a first course and quite a bit unconventional for the main dish part. But, it’s a great pumpkin recipe for our season of all things pumpkin. Matt and I found it quite lovely, perfectly Cajun-flavored and hearty, but you know, with pumpkin! And plenty of Andouille sausage, one of the best sausages on planet Earth. In my humble opinion.

Andouille and Pumpkin gumbo 5556

I hope you will enjoy it!

{Two Years Ago: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Onion and Candied Pecans}

Source: slightly adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

1 small pumpkin, about 1 ½ lbs.
Olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
1 lb. Andouille sausage, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb. fresh or frozen okra, trimmed and sliced (thawed if frozen)
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 (12 oz.) bottle of pumpkin ale
2 cups chicken stock
2 (14 oz.) cans diced or stewed tomatoes
Hot sauce, to taste and for serving
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard the stem. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out and discard or save for another use. Cut the pumpkin in half, then cut the halves into quarters and the quarters in half. Place them skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Drizzle them with a touch of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until they are cooked and tender but not mushy.
Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the skins and chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, add a small drizzle of olive oil and the Andouille. Cook until browned and a nice amount of fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate.
Lower the heat to medium and add the canola oil, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes, until the roux is brown and very fragrant. Adjust the heat as necessary as you do not want it to burn.
Once your roux is ready, add the paprika, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened about 8 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Now add the okra, plus the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and stir a few minutes more. Add the beer, stock and tomatoes. Season with hot sauce to taste and simmer to thicken 20-30 minutes.
Add the Andouille and pumpkin and stir to combine and warm through. Serve in bowls, garnished with scallions, and with a scoop of rice on top.

Fig Glazed Pork and Okra Kabobs

Fig Glazed pork and okra kabobs 4918

Part of my motivation for food blogging in the first place is to document my love of trying new (to me) foods. Sometimes it’s a new ingredient, other times, a new technique. And then other times, it’s not a new ingredient, nor a new technique, but a technique I’ve never before applied to a certain ingredient.

fresh okra 4933

Fig Glazed Pork and Okra Kabobs 4907

Like this recipe I’m sharing today. I am no stranger to either okra or grilling, but never before last weekend had I ever put okra on a skewer and grilled it. But when I saw such a recipe in the latest issue of Taste of the South, I knew I had to add this notch to my culinary belt.

fig glazed pork and okra kabobs 4924

Clearly, I have been missing out. Not only do these pork and okra skewers look really cool, they also taste pretty darn good. The fig glaze is subtle, just a hint of sweet-and-spicy lacquered glaze. The okra gets charred and crispy at the edges, with the center still pleasantly mushy, and properly cooked okra should be. The pork was melt-in-your-mouth moist and so delicious.

Fig Glazed Pork and okra kabobs 4934

Try it, before the dumb weather won’t let us grill anymore!

Fig Glazed Pork and Okra kabobs 4940

{One Year Ago: Rosemary Skewered Chipotle Shrimp, Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Tart, Custard Tart with Wine-Poached Grapes}
{Two Years Ago: Roast Chicken with Honey Mustard Black Pepper Sauce and Hatch Chile Spoonbread, Hot and Sour Soup}

Source: adapted from Taste of the South Magazine, July/August 2014

5-6 figs, stemmed and chopped
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 heaping tsp whole grain mustard
1 scant tsp honey
Dash of hot sauce
2 lbs. pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
18 small to medium fresh okra, halved lengthwise
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for a few minutes

Preheat your grill to high heat.
Add the figs to a small saucepan, along with the balsamic vinegar and about ½ cup water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it go until the mixture is thickened and the figs are soft to the point of mushy. Use a potato masher to mash the figs and let the mixture thicken a little more. This whole process takes maybe 10 minutes. Shut off the heat and strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a small to medium mixing bowl. Use a large spoon to press on the solids to extract as much fig flavor as possible. Discard the solids. Add to the mixing bowl salt and pepper to taste, mustard, honey and hot sauce. Whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside.
Cut the pork tenderloin into nice chunks appropriate for the skewers. Thread the pork chunks and the halved okra pieces onto the skewers in whatever fashion suits your fancy – alternating, or by twosies, or randomized, or what have you. Season both sides of each skewer generously with salt and black pepper.
Wipe down your grill grate with a paper towel soaked in canola oil. Lay the skewers on the grill, trying to get them not too close together. Work in batches if you need to. Grill about 3-4 minutes per side. Brush one side with the fig glaze. Turn and grill for 1 minute. Brush the remaining side with fig glaze, turn and grill 1 minute more. Transfer the kabobs to a platter and serve immediately.

Cornmeal Fried Okra

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You know what these were?  Little. Nuggets. Of. Crack.  Crack, I tell you!  I think if I lived alone, and well, no one could see me, I would probably make a batch of this just to eat.  All by myself.  The whole thing.  Clearly, my waistline appreciates my husband.

I had lots of fried okra growing up, but my mom never used the typical buttermilk/egg wash step when she fried it.  She just rolled it around in flour and cornmeal, then straight into the oil.  I loved it, and I’m sure I’ll make it that way for you before too long.  But I have to admit, there’s something to that buttermilk step.  Though it may not be absolutely necessary for a delicious end result, it is serving a purpose when it completely messes up your kitchen.  That step gives it a bread-y yet crunchy exterior, and I promise you can’t taste any slime.

I think you are ideally supposed to use plates, or at least pie plates, for the dredging-in-the-flour step.  I used a bowl, which technically doesn’t leave enough room to properly dredge each okra piece.  It kind of makes the wet and dry slurry together and makes something of a paste.  I found that that was just perfectly okay with me.  The end result is no less delicious.  I’m practically drooling just writing this.  Hmm.  It’s making me wonder if Matt plans on being out of town for a few days anytime soon. 😉

Source: adapted from Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh, by Emeril Lagasse

Canola oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbs hot sauce
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 pounds okra, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

Heat the oil in your deep fat fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions. You want the oil heated to 360 F.
In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg, and hot sauce to combine. In a second bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
Working in batches, dredge the okra first in the buttermilk mixture, allowing any excess to drip off, then in the flour mixture. Shake to remove any extra breading. Repeat until all of the okra is breaded.
Fry the okra, in batches, in the hot oil, turning it as necessary, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the fried okra to paper towels to drain, and season lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining okra.
If you have any left, transfer it to a serving bowl, take it to the table, and serve hot.