Tag Archive for Okra

Southern Italian Chicken Soup

Southern Italian Chicken Soup

I think I have already established the fact that when it’s cold, I make soup! Now that my family eats homemade chicken noodle soup, I thought I’d go out on a limb and make this Southern Italian Chicken Soup that I found in Southern Living. I loved everything about this soup and it was my lunch for days. 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 50 minutes of hands on time

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced 
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped 
1 garlic clove, minced 
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
6 cups chicken broth 
1 (15.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 (6- to 8-oz.) skinned and boned chicken breasts 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
2 cups sliced fresh okra
1 (15.5-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (9-oz.) package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini 
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Dutch Oven

Preparing Southern Italian Chicken Soup:

1. Sauté first 4 ingredients in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in broth and next 3 ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Cook in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Cool slightly (about 5 minutes); cut into 1-inch pieces. (NOTE: When I made the soup, I actually used poached and shredded chicken since I already had some on hand). 

3. Add okra, black-eyed peas, and chicken to Dutch oven.

Southern Italian Chicken Soup

Simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until okra is tender.

Southern Italian Chicken Soup

Add tortellini, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until tortellini is done. Serve with Parmesan.

Southern Italian Chicken Soup

Variations:

I might throw in some fresh spinach or kale next time just for fun. 

Meal Ideas:

As with any chicken soup, it goes nicely with a hot grilled cheese sandwich!

 

Roasted Okra and Tomatoes

Roasted Okra and Tomatoes

Like a true Southerner, I love okra! A friend of mine (other than Melissa) has a beautiful garden. The other day, she gave me a bunch of okra and tomatoes. She had told me that she recently made stewed okra and tomatoes for her husband and it was delicious. Fast forward a couple of days…the kids are starving when they get home from school, and I had about an hour to get them fed, make sure homework was done, and out the door to volleyball practice. I wanted a little something to eat, but not what I was making the family. I looked at the fresh produce sitting in my basket and thought, “Let me try roasted okra and tomatoes!” This dish really could not have been easier to make or more delicious to eat!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 minutes; Cook Time – 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Fresh Okra, desired amount, cut in half lengthwise

1-2 plum tomatoes, diced

Olive Oil

Slavo Salt, or you favorite seasoning salt

Preparing Roasted Okra and Tomatoes:

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Put okra in a large mixing bowl. Add just enough olive oil to coat the okra and add a few shakes of Slavo Salt. Mix well and put on baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes and add a bit of Slavo Salt. Mix well. Add the tomatoes to the okra and roast for 5 minutes. That’s all!!! 

Important Tips:

Make sure you don’t cook the tomatoes and the okra together the whole time. If you do, the tomatoes will be very mushy and watery!

 

 

Crispy Fried Okra

Crispy fried okra

If you are a true Southerner like me, then you have the ‘nack’ to identify really good fried okra. I ADORE fried okra. It’s fantastic all by itself and one of my more modern ways to enjoy it is on top of a Caesar salad. However, if you are a fried okra connoisseur, you know that the real key is crispiness. Soggy fried okra would have been better off stewed!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Cook Time – 10 min per batch

Ingredients:

Fresh, whole okra
Corn meal mix (I prefer White Lilly)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable Oil

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Cast Iron Skillet
Spider spatula

Preparing Crispy Fried Okra:

Wash okra and cut into equal sized slices about 1/4 inch thick. The first key is to have them equal sized and not too thin. Once they are all cut, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place in a plastic bag and add about 1 1/2 cups of the corn meal mix.

How to make fried okra

Breaded Okra

Close tight and toss to coat. Put the bag back in the fridge for about 10 – 30 minutes to help set. When ready to fry the okra, place about 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil in the skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Take the okra out of the fridge. Place one piece in the skillet to test heat. When the oil sizzles around it, it should be ready to add more. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry about 4 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Crispy fried okra

Okra frying up

Flip the best you can and continue for another 4 minutes.

Crispy fried okra

Close to ready

When done, remove from heat, drain on paper towel and immediately salt when removed from oil.  Repeat with remaining okra.

Important Tips:

Oil needs to be hot, don’t overcrowd the pan, salt when you remove from oil to allow some salt to stick.