It's rodeo time around these parts--a huge event for Houston and southeast Texas. And since I've been craving okra for a couple of months now, I figured I'd live up to the stereotype and whip up a batch (along with some jalapeño cornbread). The results very were pleasing on this lazy Sunday afternoon.
The jalapeño cornbread recipe is the standard version. Don't mess with it. It's simple and wonderful, as is. The okra recipe comes from The Lady and Sons, because it most closely reminded me of the okra I ate while growing up (and because I adore Savannah, GA ... almost as much as I adore Texas ... almost).
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add to the dry ingredient, and stir just until moistened.
Stir in jalapeños.
Pour into a greased 9-in square baking pan.
Bake at 400º F for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares or wedges. Serve warm.
Okra and Tomatoes
5 slices bacon, diced into small pieces
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-ozz. cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chicen base [note: I used Swanson's new Chicken Flavor Boost, a concentrated broth that comes in small packets. Worked perfectly.]
1 tablespoon sugar [note: I doubled this to 2 tablespoons]
2 cups fresh okra, cut into 1-inch pieces (may use frozen [note: I used two one-lb. bags of frozen])
Fresh ground black pepper [note: I also added crushed red pepper flakes])
Add tomatoes, chicken base, sugar, and pepper. Stir will and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed.
Meanwhile, if using fresh okra, wash, remove fuzz, and cut into pieces. Add the okra and simmer until okra is done, about 20 more minutes (less time, if using frozen okra).