Okra Gumbo


Okra, also known as “gumbo” or “lady fingers,” is a highly nutritious edible green pod vegetable. It’s available fresh just about year-round in the South and from May-October in other areas.

Fresh is best for breaded and fried but you can usually find it frozen in the market, which works fine in soups, gumbos and stews.

This is one of my go-to ‘Lenten” meals. For those of us who still abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, this flavorful bowl of Okra Gumbo with a thick slice of cornbread smeared with butter and honey can be a soulful meal.


  • 1/4-pound pancetta, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (Delicate)
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1-pound frozen cut okra
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 mediums russet potatoes peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  1. In a large soup pot, melt butter and oil, cook pancetta until brown.
  2. Add onion and shallots, cook until onions begin to brown.
  3. Stir in the okra and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes with their juice, salt and thyme, then cook another 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in the broth, simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the potatoes and slowly boil until they are almost done. This should take about 10 minutes, depending on how you chopped them.
  7. Stir in the corn, cook 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and allow the ingredients to get to know each other.
  8. Say Grace, be Thankful … serve soup.
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