Even though I cook and freeze everything that I make so that I have a well stocked freezer, I also really like to eat. A few weeks ago I had a big inventory in my freezer but this week I noticed that my hoard was starting to get depleted. This made me decide that it was time to dive into my stock of frozen veggies and make more food to be enjoyed throughout the week. What could be a better way to use the frozen okra and frozen chicken (you can get individually frozen organic free range chicken tenders from Whole Foods) in my freezer than to make a Turkish style okra and chicken stew! You’ll probably notice that, as in many Turkish dishes, the meat is not the star but rather a flavoring, hence the name “okra and chicken” instead of “chicken and okra.” The sauce is spicy and flavorful and the dish goes wonderfully with warm, buttery rice.
For those of you who read my blog regularly, you’re probably also happy to see a dish with some meat in it. I’ll admit that with the exception of the food bender that happened last weekend when I was visiting some friends, I’ve been eating a very vegetarian almost vegan diet when I make my own food. This is mostly happening because I don’t trust the quality of the meat in my local grocery store and don’t often get to Whole Foods to buy what I am willing to eat (i.e. meat without arsenic or antibiotics in it). That aside I’ve also been feeling much healthier eating this way but that’s a rant for another time. Anyway, here’s a break from all the bean recipes… Until next week. Happy eating!
Turkish Style Okra and Chicken
Time: 1 hour Serves: 4-6
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow or white onion
- ½ – 1 lb (4-6) organic free range chicken tenders
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 lb frozen okra
- 1 clove garlic
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- white or brown rice (1/4 cup dried per person)
- I didn’t have diced tomatoes so I used a can of whole peeled tomatoes and cut them up myself. Use diced if you can because its easier
- Garlic and lemon are optional. They add nice flavor, but don’t let not having them stop you
- You may use fresh okra, I happened to use frozen instead because okra isn’t in season and frozen is easier. I highly recommend trying to use frozen.
- I strongly suggest buying organic free range chicken. I can go on a rant about why this is the case, but I’ll save that for another time.
Add olive oil to your large pot, bring to medium heat. Dice onion and add to pot. Allow onions to cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Take your chicken tenders and cut into chunks, about an inch square. Once onions are cooked, push them to the sides of the pot and add the chicken to the center. Turn the chicken occasionally until all sides are white and cooked (don’t worry if the centers aren’t cooked, they’ll have plenty of time to stew). Make sure to property sterilize everything that touched the raw chicken, either in the dishwasher or in bleachy water
Add tomato paste to the onions and chicken, mix. Then add your spices, I do several shakes of each, but go easy, you can always add more later. Add your diced tomatoes. Mix everything together, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Take your garlic and grate it (I have a little zesting spoon I use to do this.. just do the best you can). Add to the sauce and add the lemon juice as well. Mix. Add your frozen okra, mix well. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or until okra is heated up and no longer slimy. You can taste one to tell if the slimy texture is gone.
While you’re waiting for the okra to cook, make your rice. Note that on a stovetop white rice will take 15 minutes, brown takes about 45 so plan accordingly.
Serve with rice and enjoy!