Tuesday, January 31, 2012

West African Chicken Soup with Okra

I know, I know, it's summer. But where we live there has been rain, lots of it, and some days have been cool. With an abundance of homegrown okra from our garden I promptly made this yummy soup before the sun came out again.

I love okra. I think I first fell in love with it when I made my first gumbo. I was nineteen years old and going through a 'Southern Food' phase, cooking gumbo, jambalaya, smothered chicken, southern fried buttermilk chicken, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. Okra was, and still is a hard ingredient to find.

I started cooking other things with okra when I moved to Brisbane about 12 years ago. Many African families lived in a neighbouring suburb, in the suburb were I shopped for my fruit and vegetables. I remember seeing beautiful west African women, clad in vibrant coloured dresses, leaving the store with boxes full of okra. I knew then, that it was okra season and I had to be quick or else the entire supply would soon be sold out. This is a recipe I came across at that time.

Our okra plants are one of the few surviving plants left in our garden after the heat of early summer. We are picking more each day. I'm sure there will be more okra recipes coming soon.

West African Chicken Soup with Okra

serves 4-6

make in march

• 1 x 1.8 kilogram chicken (cut into pieces)

• 1 large lemon

• 6 cups chicken stock

• 3 tomatoes (diced)
• 1 onion (sliced)

• 2 cups okra (sliced 1 cm thick)
• 1/3 cup uncooked basmati rice
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder

• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Wash the chicken well and then rub over the juice of the lemon. Drain and add to a large stockpot. Pour over the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and return to the boil. Reduce and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken pieces and de-bone and shred the meat. Return the meat to the pot and serve immediately.

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Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what's happening in your kitchen. If you've tried one of my recipes, I'd like to know what you thought? Do you have some advice to make it better? Did you find a mistake? Perhaps it is a new favourite in your home?

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