Okra and tomatoes are not in season in February; however, smothered okra is the beginning of shrimp or chicken gumbo. It also stands on its own as a side dish served over steamed rice. Make extra in the summer and freeze in anticipation of winter feasts. Makes 4 cups.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 pound fresh or frozen okra
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 can stewed tomatoes with liquid (14.5 ounces)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth as needed
1. Heat the oil in a non-reactive pot. (Cast iron cause the okra to turn black). Saute' onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery in hot oil until softened.
2. Add the okra and saute' with the other vegetables to glaze it well. A splash of apple-cider vinegar helps suppress the slime. Add tomatoes, mixing all ingredients well, then transfer to slow cooker.
3. Cook on high with the lid on for about three hours, stirring and adding stock a little at a time when the mixture begins to dry out.
4. Cook uncovered for the last 30 - 60 minutes depending on the tenderness of the okra and the amount of liquid remaining. You want fork-tender, not crunchy and thick and moist, but not soupy.
Serve smothered okra over steamed rice, refrigerate or freeze in 1 pint bags for gumbo.