Monday, September 17, 2007

Okra with chicken - a present from Greece


Having finally banished the slime by seasoning and frying okra, I couldn't say good bye until I had at least tried to cook it successfully another way. When you have 30 people from around the world championing the delights of a vegetable it is hard to resist another recipe. We discussed it over breakfast and Freddie decided that okra deserved another crack at the whip. We looked through the suggestions once more. An email from Kalli in Athens said that she had been amazed how the "slime" had disappeared when her friend had cooked chicken and okra recipe for her. We like to imagine where people live, what their kitchens look like, what they see when they look through the window. Alex and Freddie imagine that as Kalli typed out a recipe for them, she could see the Parthenon in the distance. Whatever the truth, as we made our Greek Chicken with Okra, we thought of her. I went to our local butchers to buy the chicken. If you want to learn more about vegetables, visit the butchers. They are Armenians, from Cyprus. I told them about Kalli's recipe. All the butchers stopped chopping for a moment, turned round and talked about okra.So this recipe is a coming together of ideas. The end result was delicious. Kalli signed off in her email, "I hope everything goes well!" Kalli, it did. Thank you!

Chicken with Okra
1 chicken, cut into pieces
375g okra
2 onions roughly chopped
1 large tomato
2 x 142g can of concentrated tomato puree
350ml of water
3 tbsp of olive oil
20g chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp of dried oregano
1 tbsp of freshly chopped small leafed Greek basil
4-5 tbsp of cider vinegar
500g potatoes,peeled and chopped

Soak the whole okra in a bowl of water with the cider vinegar for an hour. Peel, chop the potatoes and boil them in water for 10 minutes. Drain and put aside.
Chop the chicken into servings or ask the butcher to do this for you. (Or you can buy a selection of chicken legs, thighs and breast.) In a high-sided pan, heat the oil. Add the chicken and sautee for 20 minutes on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Sautee for another 15 minutes until the onion is soft. Then add the tomato puree and chopped parsley and stir well. Add 200ml of water and slowly bring to the boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. If you think the tomato and onion sauce is reducing too quickly, add a little more water.
Pour everything into a deep baking tray. Drain the okra and add. Add the chopped tomato and parboiled potatoes. Stir round so that everything is covered well with the sauce. Add 150 ml of water. Cover with foil and put in the preheated oven at 190C for around 35 minutes. Stir half way through, checking to make sure the chicken doesn't dry out. Serve with some chopped greek basil.

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  1. yeah, frying seems like giving up almost, doesn't it? although i still contend that it is valid in this case *grin* i can't wait to try this new recipe. looks fantastic. oh, oh, and if you want to try any of the other ones that you find? i saw a feature on television that said to slice it up and put it out in the sunshine for a bit, or at a low heat in the oven. they also say that it is good grilled. who'd a thunk? i think it was the today show...

  2. Charlotte12:14 PM

    I would love to try a few more but I think we will have to move on. Every vegetable has its day and okra has had more than its fair share!

  3. I agree--there's lots to be gained by talking with the ethnic shop keepers. I think I've had more comments on okra than just about any other topic. It's just us northerners who don't get it...

  4. I've been trying okra in different ways for a few days now: this sounds like a great one-pot meal, perfect for sneaking in vegetables for those who aren't as adventurous as you-know-who(him) and you-know-who(her).

  5. That looks so delicious I think I'll look out for some okra today so I can give it a go.

    At the Garden Organic gardens at Ryton they had some beautiful okra plants growing in a greenhouse - the flowers are very pretty!


  6. Magic Cochin
    Do have a go. They are worth the effort. This recipe really relies on you creating a really intense tomato sauce and adding the okra at the end so they cook in those flavours.

  7. Savas Perakis5:48 PM

    I grew up in Greece and as a young boy I hated Okra what a change wright now is my most favored veggie you just have to make sure that don't over cook and mush the okra the recipe is different than my mom's only on lemon than vinegar try them both is worth it.


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