Okra is one of those veggies that people either love or hate. I was in the latter group until I had it prepared for me while visiting Nigeria. As a child and later as an adult, I had a hard time getting beyond the slippery texture and had simply decided that it wasn’t for me. Thank goodness for good manners and not wanting to offend my gracious hosts because what they prepared for me on that most memorable of evenings is now one of my favorite soups ever. Cooking the okra in a soup does two things: it makes the okra itself less slippery and capitalizes on the gelatinous nature of the vegetable as a thickener for the soup. This makes it very hearty and perfect for those cold, winter days. In Nigeria, this soup would be served along with a starchy side such as gari, fufu or pounded yam and eaten with your hands. Being that I partake of a mostly Paleo diet, I simply enjoy it by itself, in a bowl, with a spoon. I have adjusted this recipe somewhat for easier to source ingredients, but the outcome is still as delicious as it’s West African inspiration. Let me know what you think!
THRIVE in Livity!
Prep Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 50 min Serves: 6-8
What you’ll need:
2 lb grass fed beef stew cubes
3 lb fresh okra
1 quart of stock (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
2 Cups of filtered water
2 TBS olive oil
1 habanero pepper
½ medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 TBS coarse salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBS dried thyme
1 tsp Cumin powder
Optional: You can top off the soup pot with another 2-3 TBS of olive oil or for a more traditional West African flavor try 2-3 TBS of Red Palm Oil.
What to do:
- Rinse and dry okra. Set aside.
- Dice garlic and onion and mix with beef cubes along with olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, thyme and cumin powder, making sure to massage all of the spices and oil into the meat. Cover and let marinate for an hour in the refrigerator.
- While beef is marinating, prepare okra by cutting off the stem ends and cutting into ¼ inch rounds. Set aside.
- Place a wide bottomed pot on medium heat and when ready add the beef cubes and garlic and onions. Brown the meat on Med-High, and then turn down to Med-Low and cover. Let cook for about 10 min until the beef releases enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pot.
- Add in all of the stock and the water and bring to a boil. You may need to add more water, enough to cover the contents in the pot.
- Split the bottom of the habanero pepper and add it to the pot. (If you want it spicier then open the pepper more.)
- Cook at a rolling boil for 20 min. Meat is done when you can easily pierce it with a fork.
- Taste the soup to see if it needs any additional seasonings and adjust accordingly. Add more water if necessary.
- Add the okra and cook for another 10 min. or until the okra turns a dull green color. Remove the habanero pepper.
- (Optional) Add oil and cook for another 5 min. Turn off pot and stir in oil well.
- Serve and enjoy!