Easy okra soup recipe with a smoky citrus vibe from a smoked chicken and lime-based broth. A satisfying summertime soup with a bright, festive feel.
If you’ve followed recent posts, then you know this month is all about okra recipes, partly because it’s okra season, but also as part of my personal campaign to get the world to “Eat More Okra.” This is my first okra soup post, but don’t sweat I have a few more in store for you that will make you say “Uggh” like Master P! My mentality is that when it comes to okra recipes, there are no bad ideas. Well perhaps that okra smoothie was a not so good idea.
There are soups that contain okra and then there are okra soups. With the former, it’s usually about making the dish thicker. Okra soups are for okra lovers who appreciate everything about the fuzzy green pods. Okra soups are popular worldwide and all throughout the South and midwest. Gumbo ain’t nothing but okra soup with a roux and a bunch of other stuff. Similarly, Brunswick is okra soup, no roux, but with many different vegetables.
In Asia, you may find a Miso and Okra soup. Egyptians prefer a stew made with okra and beef broth, while Nigerians are all about Obe ile. This preference for beef as a pairing is popular in the Low Country as well where you might find beef shank with its bone marrow dissolved into the soup for that rich beef flavor and silky smooth texture. My introduction to okra soup came from my grandmother who made a deeply flavored tomato-based okra soup with onions, corn, and peppers. When I decided to make my version, I wanted something complex in flavor, but made with few ingredients, and had more of a summertime feel, i.e. not heavy like a stew.
What Inspired this Okra Soup Recipe?
What I came up with is a smoked chicken and okra soup. The smoked chicken adds a level of deep flavor to the broth while also making the dish substantial enough for a main entree meal. The lime juice is the ingredient that makes this soup next level. The tart citrus, breaks up the smoked meat, while also bringing out the flavor in the okra. The idea for the lime juice dates back to my time spent in so many real Mexican restaurants where chicken lime soup ‘Sopa de lima’ can be common.
I was short on time when I made this recipe. So rather than slowly simmering this dish on the stovetop I “cheated” and used my Instant Pot. The Instant Pot had the added advantage of not eating to the heat situation given the 90+ degree summer Texas weather. So what was normally an hour or two hour-long cook time, became a 30-minute recipe. This recipe is an example of pressure cooking gone right.
Does This Recipe Work With Traditional Cooking Methods?
This recipe is for Instant Pot/pressure cooking but is easily convertible to traditional stovetop cooking. You follow the same approach as far as sautéing the onions, peppers, garlic, and chicken first to release their flavors. Next, you bring the stock and vegetables (minus okra) to a boil, then reduce the heat and slowly simmer the soup (sans the okra and lime juice) for at least an hour. Add the okra during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. Finish with the lime juice.
Smoked Chicken and Okra Soup Cooking tips
- Don’t smoke chicken just for this recipe. By a half-smoked chicken from your favorite local bbq spot or just reserved some from your next Summer cookout and use the leftovers in the soup. If neither of these is an option, just use beef like I mentioned they do in Africa and the Low country
- Saute the onions, peppers, and chicken first to release their flavor
- Cut the okra into smaller pieces for faster cook times, but no too small such that the other ingredients overshadow that good okra flavor.
- If using pressure cooker/Instant Pot add the okra after pressure cooking process to preserve the okra texture and fresh okra flavor. Similarly if using traditional slow simmer in a pot approach add the okra later in the cooking process.
Making Okra Soup
This okra soup is likely 1 of about 5 I hope to master this summer. If you make this or your own version of it, definitely let me know what you think by leaving a comment or even posting a picture on Instagram using the hashtag #foodfidelity.
If you’re interested in other okra based recipes or just going deep on the history and health benefits of okra read my earlier post “Eat More Okra” which includes okra recipes utilizing several different techniques and flavors including stewed, southern fried okra, and roasted okra.
- pressure cooker
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 jalapeño chili deseeded and diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 tbsp Salt
- 1/2 tbsp Pepper
- 1/2 tbsp Paprika
- 1/3 cup Rice
- 4 cups Chicken Stock
- 2 cups Water
- 1/2 Smoked Chicken
- 1/2 lb Okra sliced 1/2 inch thick pieces
- 1/2 cup Lime Juice
- Fresh cilantro optional
- Set instant pot to saute setting.
- Add onions, garlic, jalapeño, and half the spices and saute 4-5 minutes
- Add rice and saute another 2 minutes
- Add stock, water, smoked chicken, and remaining spices. Stir to mix the ingredients well.
- Cancel saute settings, close lid and pressure cook for 20 minutes. Do a quick-release pressure.
- Remove chicken and let cool
- Add okra and bell peppers to the pot. And cook 10 minutes on sauce settings uncovered.
- While soup continues to cook, pull the chicken off the bone and chop up into smaller pieces.
- Add the chopped chicken back to the pot along with the lime juice.
- Serve with fresh cilantro