I almost didn’t post today – we’re taking the day off, stretching our weekend to four days – and I keep thinking it’s Saturday (“It is!” says Beloved gleefully. “For the next 3 days!”).
Anyhoo, I thought I’d post a beautiful, completely seasonal recipe today. It’s a reworked version of one I posted 3 years ago, so it’s not exactly new. What it is, however, is greatly simplified and somewhat improved.
When I posted this recipe originally in late August of 2011, I had not yet discovered the wonder that is a food mill – I was still peeling and seeding tomatoes by hand and pureeing them in the food processor. A food mill, either a small one, like I used for this particular dish, or a large one, which is indispensable when making and canning huge batches of tomato or apple sauce, is an absolutely marvelous gadget and I don’t know how I ever managed without either of them. Basically, I just cut up the tomatoes we’d gotten that week from the CSA – there was quite a variety of them – and cranked them through the small food mill until I had a beautiful puree.
Sooooo much easier than cutting an X in the bottom of the tomatoes, dropping them in boiling water for a minute, shocking them in ice water, then peeling, cutting them in half, squeezing/digging out the seeds then chopping them by hand or running them through the food processor. Trust me on this.
At any rate, this not only cut down the preparation and cook time, it also allowed me to increase the ratio of tomatoes to chicken stock, which made for a slightly thicker – and much smoother – soup. I also increased the amount of sweet corn (we are just swimming in it this year) and used Cajun seasoning rather than just cayenne.
The result was simply out of the world. It was just delicious and I felt so virtuous as I ate it I could barely stand myself. Literally everything in it, spices aside, was local – the butter from a local dairy that pastures their cows, the tomatoes and okra from our CSA share, the sweet corn from the tiny farmer’s market where we meet our poultry farmer for eggs during the summer, the chicken stock from the backs and feet of the pastured chickens we get from the same farmer, and that I made and canned myself. “Fresh” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
In addition to be it being about as local as possible – when you live in the suburbs, at any rate – this soup is incredibly nutritious to boot. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin E, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, manganese and fiber. Eat this with a nice salad of fresh greens topped with a tasty homemade dressing, some simply grilled meat and a few Dilly Beans and you’ve got meal that you can feel smug about, too.
Note: You can, of course, use canned tomato puree if you don’t have a food mill and/or access to tomatoes in season. If you can’t find fresh okra, frozen should be fine (the same goes for the corn), assuming you can find it without breading. Depending on how you view the inclusion of certain grains in your diet, this is paleo-friendly as well. It is certainly gluten-free as written.
Click the image to enlarge
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups tomato puree
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade
- 2 cups sliced okra
- 2 cups corn kernels, freshly cut from the cob
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, or to taste
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat; cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato puree, chicken broth, okra and corn; increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the Cajun seasoning. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender and the mucilage has cooked out of the okra, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 216 calories, 6.9g total fat, 15mg cholesterol, 358.2mg sodium, 1153.4mg potassium,34.1g carbohydrates, 5.6g fiber, 14.5g sugar, 9.4g protein