Another staple of the Greek kitchen are okra. Okra is used alot in southern US cooking, Afro-American “soul food”, the Louisiana dish of Gumbo’s main ingredient is okra and in the Caribbean, Callaloo gets the okra treatment.
Okra look and taste similar to beans but then are obviously thicker and taper like a thin pepper. One of the advantages of okra is that the vegetable also acts as a thickening agent and that’s the main reason why it’s used in stews..
Here, I’m showing you two okra dishes from the Greek kitchen. One is a vegetarian Okra stew and the other is a stew of okra with veal or beef. The recipes have minor differences but the approach is the same and the great flavour is enjoyed in both.
The vegetarian dish can be served as a side, made into a main course or offered up as a meze. The meat version is of course, a stew that feeds a healthy and balanced meal.
Spice-wise, we don’t get too fancy here, allspice berries are the star here and from tasting this dish, you’d think other spices and were added but nah…it’s just the allspice.
Lis of La Mia Cucina is hosting a food event called Weekend Cookbook Challenge, an event created by my fellow left-coast Canadian, Sara of I Like To Cook. The only pre-requisite for this challenge is to cook something using a pressure cooker, dutch oven or slow cooker. These okra dishes are perfect for this event…you have here a pressure cooker, some braising and tender, flaky veal in a stew of tomatoes and okra…Yum!
Okra With Veal
1 kg. of stewing veal or beef, cut into large chunks
1lb. of okra (fresh or frozen), stems removed
(click here to read how to properly trim okra)
3 medium onions, sliced
1/2 cup of parsley, chopped
1/2 cup of plum tomatoes, pureed 4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
8-9 allspice berries
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Using your pressure cooker, place your veal inside with a little salt and cover with enough water to just cover the meat. Turn the heat to high and when your cooker starts whistling and the seal has been made, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Take the pressure cooker off the heat and safely release the pressure.
- In a separate large pot, add your olive oil, sliced onions and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Add your tomato puree, then the okra, parsley, allspice, garlic and top with the veal. Now pour enough of the veal stock from the pressure cooker to just cover all the ingredients in your pot.
- Bring to a boil, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour. Taste for seasoning and let stand for 15 minutes (the okra will thicken the sauce).
- Serve with some feta cheese, crusty bread and mop-up!
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