If you were to Google “smothered okra,” you would not get many appetizing results. There is a reason for this. Smothered foods are not beautiful foods, but they sure are tasty. I have to admit, when it comes to smothered okra, you either love it or you hate it. Smothering this vegetable is a commitment, like in any relationship. You begin with happy orbs of fresh green loveliness, and then the fire is turned on. The fresh orbs begin to smell like a garden in the dead of heat. And with a patient heart, you stir and stir and stir, as the fresh green color fades and the texture begins to get a little, well there is no way around it, slimy.
Have faith in the dish and continue to stir and stir and nurture and stir some more. Before you know it, the vegetable will completely give up in the battle against itself and the heat and will convert the more “smarmy mash” into a dish with silky texture and olive green in color. Fully commit to the dish and it will never disappoint in the end, a requirement for relationships. Many life lessons can be taught at the stove, with a large skillet, a spatula and a mound of okra, waiting to be molded, transformed and completely devoted to the task at hand.
Recipe: Serves 4
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 pounds of okra, cleaned and cut into 1 inch rounds
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add the okra, onion and garlic cloves. Stir all of the ingredients together in the pan until well distributed. Allow the okra to completely cook down. Honestly, this takes a while. This part usually takes me around 30-45 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on the okra and stir the bottom religiously. If you notice that the bottom is starting to brown or the okra is sticking, scoop the okra to the side and pour a little water on the bottom, allow the water to bubble and scrape off the brown bits. Once the okra has completely broken down, it should be smooth and without lumps. Season the okra to taste with the salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Enjoy!