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Tomato Okra Soup

And I am back from vacation.  It has been wild, wonderful and stressful; I’m both relieved and sad that it is over, especially since it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever have another like it.

I didn’t cook as many different, new dishes as I’d expected to – there were just too many people in the house to get too terribly creative – but I did cook enough to have a couple of tasty recipes to post this week, of which this is the first.  The farmer’s market is bursting with the late summer harvest and tomatoes are literally everywhere; they are, in fact, so prolific this year that we are having no trouble finding green ones for Fried Green Tomatoes, which has been a huge hit in our house this past week.  Ripe tomatoes are abundant too, of course, and I believe we’ve purchased the last of the season’s okra but you never know.

The first of the sweet corn is hitting not only the farmer’s markets but the roadside stands that pop up on nearly every major thoroughfare in our small city – it seems everyone with a patch of land large enough to hold a few rows grows some.   Fresh, seasonal sweet corn is an indulgence in our mostly grain-free home and we purchased a dozen ears the weekend before last to help feed the horde.  The meager leftovers were cut from the cobs and went into this lovely dish, which we had while in Charleston earlier this month.

We were so entranced with this soup that I emailed the chef de cuisine for Maverick Kitchens, the owners of the restaurant (High Cotton), for the recipe.  I never heard back (and I’m really not surprised; disappointed, but not surprised), but I think I’ve done a more than credible job of recreating it here.  It is a quick and simple dish, brimming with the flavors of late summer.  If you cannot find fresh okra I’m sure frozen will work, assuming you can find it unbreaded.

This was quite delicious with slices of a Mexican-spiced pork loin roast (recipe forthcoming), and would be equally good with roast chicken.

Note for my primal/paleo/low carb/grain-free readers:  Please feel free to leave out the corn if you want; I doubt if the exclusion of it will detract from the soup at all, and I’d hate for anyone to miss out because of the small amounts.  It truly is delicious.

Tomato Okra Soup

Tomato Okra Soup

serves 6

4 large tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced (about 2 pounds)
2 cups sliced okra
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup corn kernels, freshly cut from the cob (about two ears)
2 tablespoons butter or lard
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Melt the butter or lard in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cook the onion until soft and golden, about 5 minutes; add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Increase the heat to medium and add the corn, tomatoes and okra to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down and the okra starts to soften. Pour in the chicken stock and season with the salt and pepper; continue cooking over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are completely cooked down and the mucilage from the okra has disappeared. Season to taste with the cayenne.

Serve immediately, with slices of roast chicken or pork if desired.

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