Chef John Folse: Smothered okra and tomatoes

Folse Smothered Okra and Tomatoes

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Okra, or gombo, was brought to Louisiana by the Africans in the early 1700s. The vegetable was quickly adapted for use in many dishes, especially gumbo. Smothered okra and tomatoes can be eaten alone or made into a side dish by adding lump crabmeat or shrimp. Many Louisianians make large batches of this dish to freeze for later use in gumbo.

Prep Time: 1½ Hours

Yields: 8–10 Servings


3 quarts sliced fresh okra

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice

½ cup vegetable oil

2 cups diced onions

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced bell peppers

½ cup minced garlic

½ cup hot chicken broth or stock

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste


NOTE: It is important to select only young, tender okra for smothering. As the season progresses, okra hardens on the bush and is no longer prime for cooking. In a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic and sauté 2–3 minutes or until vegetables are wilted, stirring often. Add okra, tomatoes with juice and chicken stock then bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to simmer and cook approximately 1 hour or until "stringing" (when the slime created from the extruded protein of the okra disappears), stirring occasionally. Okra and tomatoes should be well smothered and tender. Adjust seasonings to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

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