Food, Community & Government
Okra, Corn & Tomato Stew
Lesson time 21:44 min
Michael whips up what he likes to call an Okra, Corn, and Tomato “Stewp,” shares best practices for cooking okra, demonstrates traditional techniques for taste testing food, and delves into why vegetables are so prevalent in Southern cuisine.
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Topics include: Bacon • Onions • Tomato • Okra • Corn Serving
- What we're going to be making today is we're going to make okra, corn, tomato stew. This is part of that family of okra dishes. Now if you change a few ingredients, you get okra soup. If you change it a little bit more you get gumbo, but okra gumbo, because there's also a file gumbo. You change it a little bit more, you get limpin susan, which is okra and rice. Change it a little bit more, you get okra and black eyed peas. So there's a whole complex of dishes that involve okra. If you go to the Caribbean, you get okra and fungi, which is the cornmeal pudding that has okra in it. So there are all these dishes that combine the flavors of okra, onion, tomato, and pepper. And also of course, there's the corn. It's a very summer dish. And a lot of these foods that we're making really involve the seasons. We're going to start with bacon. Of course for me, it's going to be kosher beef bacon. And we're going to render it. So we can begin to build the flavor, even the fat that you use in this, if you choose to use meat is very important. If you don't, there are variations that we can talk about. But for me, I'm going to use the beef bacon, render it, get the fat out of it. Cook it for about five minutes. We're going to start there and build what some people might call a sofrito. And then go on to put in the tomatoes, make a broth, and then we're going to end up with what we call in our terminology a stoop, so something between a soup and a stew, but not really much of either. So here we go. So I'm going to take this beef bacon. I'm going to use my hands at this point. And you can see it's pretty fatty. And the whole goal is to really make sure that the bottom of this cast iron skillet is pretty coated. And we're going to use this in the dish. But for right now the main goal is to get all the fat out of it. For this, I'm going to go old school cast iron, which is kind of like what our ancestors had. they had cast iron pots. They had cast iron skillets. They didn't look like this. And they didn't have a lot. I mean, you would have had maybe those two things and maybe a lid, maybe a couple of wooden spoons. And that's why so many of the meals involved one skillet or one pot meals. One thing I want to stress about this way of cooking is that this is not part of Western culture. This is part of African culture, where you cook with your senses. You cook with your sense of smell. You cook with your sense of touch, your sensitivity to the heat, how things look to the eye. Obviously, we don't want to burn the bacon. But we also don't want to overdo it. So I'm only going to turn this as many times as it takes to really make sure that both sides, we have that grease leaking out. This meat here is not really there for any other reason than to be a condiment. It is not an entree. It is a condiment. And is there to flavor. It is not there to replace the vegetables that are the star of the show. And it's not because of ...
About the Instructor
Through years of unearthing his African American heritage, bestselling author of The Cooking Gene Michael W. Twitty discovered undeniable ties between his ancestors’ past and his own palate. Now he’s teaching how you can get a taste of your family history through food. Explore the migrations that informed the ingredients in your kitchen—then re-create the dishes that helped shape who you are.
Featured Masterclass Instructor
Michael W. Twitty
James Beard Award–winning author of The Cooking Gene teaches how to trace your culinary roots through the food your ancestors ate.Explore the Class