Smothered Okra and Tomatoes
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Smothered Okra and Tomatoes is a delicious southern dish often referred to as “stewed okra and tomatoes.” This elevated version features all the savory flavors of classic southern cooking, but with a few fun and unique twists to kick things up a notch.
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Smothered Okra & Tomatoes by Kenneth Temple
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Smothered Okra and Tomatoes:
I kept all the amazing New Orleans flavors of classic stewed okra and tomatoes intact but gave the presentation a unique and futuristic twist in keeping with our theme. My interpretation features a smaller portion with the same mouth-watering flavor profile but with an elevated presentation far from what my grandmother would expect her smothered okra and tomatoes to look like.
This southern okra recipe is one of those dishes that are as fun to make as they are to eat. If you’ve never dabbled in molecular gastronomy before, consider this recipe as your introduction. Don’t worry. You won’t be doing anything too crazy. Just a little fun with tapioca maltodextrin! Pretty soon, you’ll be able to brag to all your friends about what a molecular cooking wizard you are.
Serve this smothered okra and tomatoes recipe with rice and microgreens for a stunning dish that guarantees to impress your family and friends. If you love this dish even half as much as my wife and I do, then you’re going to be making it again and again. Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below!
To make this okra and tomatoes recipe, you will need the key ingredients listed below.
- Okra: A staple ingredient in many West African and soul food recipes, okra has a mild and almost grassy flavor that is unique. In this dish, you’ll be coating it in a flavorful tempura batter made with Savory Cajun seasoning before frying it to perfection.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Always use fresh cherry tomatoes for this recipe; otherwise, you can use quarter whole tomatoes.
- Smoked Sausage: Any smoked sausage will work here. Some of my top picks include andouille sausage, beef smoked sausage, turkey smoked sausage, and polish sausage.
- Tapioca Maltodextrin: This sounds very fancy and scientific, but don’t be scared–it’s just the powder that will serve as the base of the smoked sausage powder. I use this tapioca maltodextrin by Modernist Pantry.
- Seasonings: In Cajun-Creole cuisine, we cook most dishes with the ‘trinity,’ which includes onions, celery, and bell peppers. This combination is essential in any smothered okra recipe and adds tons of incredible flavor.
- Rice: A classic staple to pair with any meal in Louisiana. For a low-carb meal, you can swap it out for cauliflower rice.
How to make Smothered Okra and Tomatoes Recipe:
Time is the key to achieving the deepest and richest flavors, so save this recipe for a day when you have a few hours to spend in the kitchen. Trust me. These incredible flavors are well worth the wait. To make this delicious southern okra recipe, follow the steps below.
Confit Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 275°F. Place the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and olive oil into a deep casserole dish.
Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the vegetables and herbs from the oil with a slotted spoon. Set 12 tomatoes to the side.
Add the remaining vegetables, herbs, tomato paste, Savory seasoning, worcestershire sauce, stock, and salt in a food blender. Blitz on high for 30 seconds, then slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of cooled oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Smoked Sausage Dust: While the tomatoes cook, add the smoked sausage and oil to a large skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until the sausage is brown.
Let the oil from the sausage cool for 10 minutes, then measure out 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the oil and tapioca maltodextrin to a food processor and pulse 7-10 times until combined. Then, sift through a mesh strainer over the finished dish.
Tempura Okra: In a large bowl, combine the egg and club soda. Add flour, Savory seasoning, and salt, leaving small lumps in the batter.
In a medium bowl, add the okra and toss in vinegar.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat to 350°F. Dip 4 large okra in the batter, drain off excess batter and fry for 1 ½ minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.
Assembly: Use a 4-inch biscuit cutter to mold ½ cup rice into a rice cake. Then, place 3 confit tomatoes on the rice cake, place 1 fried okra on top, dust with smoked sausage dust, pour ¼ cup of tomato sauce around the rice cake, and garnish with microgreens. Enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Tricks:
Here are some of my top recipe tips and substitutions to help you make the best smothered okra and tomatoes recipe:
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the smoked sausage dust in a medium bowl. Just whisk the smoked sausage oil with the tapioca maltodextrin until thoroughly combined.
- Feel free to swap out the vegetable stock for beef or chicken stock.
- Want to serve this dish family-style? Serve ¼ cup rice with 4 oz. tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of fried smoked sausage, and as much okra as you desire. Don’t forget to the smoked sausage dust.
- I like to garnish with microgreens or fresh chopped chives just before serving the dish for a show-stopping presentation. Any brightly colored microgreens will work!
Smothered Okra and Tomatoes Storage Tips
If you wind up with extras, it’s best to store the stewed tomatoes and okra in separate airtight containers. Once you’ve sealed everything up, you can store your leftovers as follows:
- In the fridge for up to 3 days.
- In the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
To Reheat: You can reheat leftover fried okra in a 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes or reheat in an air fryer at 300°F for 4-5 minutes. Stewed tomatoes can be reheated in the oven or on the stove until warmed through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about stewed okra and tomatoes:
If you’re worried about slimy okra, that’s why we toss it in the white distilled vinegar before dipping it in the batter because the vinegar instantly removes the slime.
Yes! I prefer to use fresh cherry tomatoes for maximum flavor, but you can swap them out for quality canned tomatoes like San Marzano if you need to.
When choosing the best okra at the grocery store or farmer’s market, look for firm and green okra. My auntie taught me to roll it in my fingers by my ear and if it made a crunch sound, it was quality okra. You should also check to ensure the okra doesn’t have any dark spots.
Confit is a culinary term that means to cook in fat. We confits the vegetables by submerging them completely in olive oil and cooking until they are fully tenderized.
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More Southern Side Dish Recipes
If you liked this southern okra recipe, try these Southern-inspired dishes next:
- Corn Pudding
- New Orleans Baked Mac and Cheese
- Moist Southern Cornbread
- Black-Eyed Pea Fritters
- Collard Green Coleslaw
If you haven’t had smothered okra and tomatoes before, this is a great way to try it. Even if you don’t like okra, I can guarantee that the flavors will change your mind forever. I hope this recipe is a hit with your family. Let me know how it turns out for you by leaving a 5-star review below!
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Smothered Okra and Tomatoes
- 2 lbs. cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 fresh oregano sprigs
- 3 cups olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons low sodium vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons Savory Cajun Seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Smoked Sausage Powder:
- 6 oz. beef smoked sausage chopped medium
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 16 g tapioca maltodextrin
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup club soda
- 5 oz. all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Savory Cajun Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lb. okra
- ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
- 2-4 cups canola oil for frying
- 3 cups cooked seasoned rice
- Micro-green or chopped chives for garnish
- Confit Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 275°F. Place tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and olive oil into a deep casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. After 2 hours, with a slotted spoon remove the vegetables and herbs from the oil. Set 12 tomatoes to the side. Place the remaining vegetables, herbs, tomato paste, Savory, worcestershire sauce, stock and salt in a food blender, blitz on high for 30 seconds. Then slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of cooled oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Smoked Sausage Dust: While tomatoes cook, add the smoked sausage and oil to a large skillet, turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until sausage is brown. Cool oil for 10 minutes then measure out 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the oil and tapioca maltodextrin in a food processor and pulse 7-10 times until combined. Then sift through a mesh strainer over finished dish.
- Tempura Okra: In a large bowl, combine the egg and club soda. Add flour, Savory and salt, leaving small lumps.
- In a medium bowl, add the okra and toss in vinegar.
- Turn on the heat to medium-high, in a large skillet, add oil and heat to 350°F. Dip 4 large okra in the batter, drain off access and fry for 1 ½ minute each side, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.
- To assemble: Use a 4-inch biscuit cutter to mold the ½ cup rice, place 3 confit tomatoes on rice cake, place 1 fried okra on cakes, dust with smoked sausage dust, pour ¼ cup of tomato sauce around the rice cake and garnish with micro-greens.
• Feel free to swap out the vegetable stock for beef or chicken stock.
• Want to serve this dish family-style? Serve ¼ cup rice with 4 oz. tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of fried smoked sausage, and as much okra as you desire. Don’t forget to the smoked sausage dust.
• I like to garnish with microgreens or fresh chopped chives just before serving the dish for a show-stopping presentation. Any brightly colored microgreens will work! Storage: • In the fridge for up to 3 days.
• In the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To Reheat: You can reheat leftover fried okra in a 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes or reheat in an air fryer at 300°F for 4-5 minutes. Stewed tomatoes can be reheated in the oven or on the stove until warmed through.