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Okra Gumbo Soup (southern) Recipe

Okra Gumbo Soup (Southern Recipe)

History:
Okra Gumbo Soup is a classic Southern dish that has its roots in African, Native American, and Creole cuisines. The word "gumbo" is derived from the Bantu word for okra, which is a key ingredient in this flavorful soup. The origins of gumbo can be traced back to West Africa, where okra was used to thicken soups and stews. When African slaves were brought to the American South, they combined their culinary traditions with those of the Native Americans and Creoles, resulting in the creation of gumbo.

Fun Facts:
1. Gumbo is often considered the official state cuisine of Louisiana, where it is a staple dish.
2. The soup meat used in this recipe refers to cuts of meat such as beef, pork, or chicken that add flavor to the soup but are not meant to be the main protein.
3. The traditional seasoning for gumbo includes a combination of spices such as bay leaves, thyme, and cayenne pepper, which give the soup its distinctive taste.
4. Gumbo is known for its rich and thick consistency, thanks to the use of okra as a natural thickener.
5. This recipe suggests serving the gumbo with fricassee chicken and rice, adding even more depth of flavor to the dish.

Recipe:

Ingredients:
- 1 quart of ripe tomatoes
- 1 quart of okra, cut into small rings
- 2 quarts of water
- 1 piece of soup meat (beef, pork, or chicken)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 sprig of parsley, chopped
- 1 chicken, fricasseed
- Rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: corn and Lima beans

Instructions:

1. In a large pot, combine the ripe tomatoes and the okra cut into small rings. Stew them together over medium heat until they become tender and form a thick mixture.

2. Add the two quarts of water to the pot along with the piece of soup meat (without bone). The soup meat will add flavor to the gumbo but should be cut into small cubes and left in the soup to serve.

3. Chop up the onion, carrot, and parsley, and add them to the pot. These vegetables will provide additional aromatic flavors to the soup.

4. Fricassee the chicken separately and cook it with some rice. This will add a delicious protein element to the gumbo.

5. Dish up the fricasseed chicken and rice into each soup plate before adding the soup.

6. Let the gumbo simmer for about four to five hours to allow all the flavors to meld together. The longer it simmers, the richer and more flavorful the soup will become.

7. Optional: If desired, you can add corn and Lima beans to the gumbo. These should be cooked with the soup for several hours to ensure they become soft and blend well with the other ingredients.

8. Season the gumbo with salt and pepper according to your taste preferences.

9. Serve the Okra Gumbo Soup hot, making sure to include a piece of chicken, a tablespoon of rice, and some cubes of soup meat in each soup plate.

Similar Recipe Dishes:
There are several similar dishes to Okra Gumbo Soup across different culinary traditions. Here are a few examples:

- Creole Gumbo: This variation typically includes a combination of seafood such as shrimp, crab, or oysters, along with the traditional okra and spices.

- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo: This version replaces the fricasseed chicken in the recipe above with smoked sausage, adding a smoky and savory flavor to the gumbo.

- Vegetarian Gumbo: For those who prefer a meatless option, a vegetarian gumbo can be made by omitting the soup meat and replacing it with vegetable broth or bouillon for added flavor.

- African Okra Soup: In West African cuisine, okra is often cooked into a thick soup, similar to gumbo, but with the addition of other ingredients such as African palm oil, fish, or meat.

These variations showcase the adaptability and versatility of gumbo as a dish that can be customized to suit different tastes and dietary preferences.

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