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"Kwah/Home" Stewed Okra and Tomatoes w/ Cuban Sofrito (Okra Gumbo)

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Stewed Okra and Tomatoes - fresh summer ingredients slowly simmered with a flavorful sofrito sauce for a balanced yet Southern classic stew-like side dish. It's prepared the Southern way, but with a Caribbean twist.

stewed okra and tomatoes served over grits

The best part about cooking stewed okra is the aroma that is produced via the slow cooking of the ingredients which includes fresh herbs and spices. Whenever I get a whiff smokey paprika and/or stewed tomatoes and okra I think about Home. Home for me is MaDear's house in Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX and the music of the incredible Roy Hargrove.

It's been a long time since I lived in my hometown of Dallas, but home takes me to okra, particularly smothered okra. What most refer to as stewed okra, my grandmother "Ma Dear" called smothered. They are prepared the same, i.e. slowly simmered or "stewed" in a pot.

Not sure if this is true in other parts of the country, but smothered implied other ingredients as well, like corn. It was more like okra gumbo which is another common reference. Ma Dear made smothered okra once a month.

Smothered Okra Ingredients

  • Okra
  • Diced Tomatoes (canned)
  • Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Corn (canned)
  • Paprika
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Water or Vegetable Broth
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sofrito (optional)

How To Make Smothered Okra (step by step)

I tweaked my Ma Dear's recipe by adding a sofrito as a base seasoning to the stewed okra. This is optional but I highly recommend it as it adds some bottom to the dish. My Uncle Slick always used to say that music wasn't good unless it had that bottom provided from a bass. If you're unfamiliar with sofrito, it's commonly used in Caribbean cuisine, especially Puerto Rican and Cuban, to season stews, beans, and rice dishes.

It's basically a Caribbean version of a French Miropioux or Cajun Holy Trinity featuring a blend of garlic, onions, peppers, and herbs cooked slowly. I prefer to let mine sit in the refrigerator overnight to allow all the flavors to come together. Depending on where you live, you can find store-bought sofrito, but it's more fun and tasty to make your own. I like sofrito in this dish because it allows you to add mucho flavor while keeping this dish purely plant-based. Most stewed okra dishes include bacon or bacon grease.

cuban sofrito sauce in a jar

If not making the sofrito skip to step 2.

Step 1: Make the sofrito - Heat a medium-sized pan to medium heat and then add oil. Add onion, peppers, and garlic and cook 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and let cook 5 minutes. Tomatoes should reduce some concentrating the flavor. Once most of the tomato liquid is gone add the wine and the herbs. Remove from heat, allow to cool then puree in a blender.

Step 2: Saute onions and garlic in a medium sauce pan for 2-3 minutes. Add paprika, thyme, and bay leaf stirring to infuse the oil with more flavor.

Step 3: Add the tomatoes, cayenne, salt, pepper, and corn to the sauce pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring as needed

Step 4: Stir in the okra, water/broth, sofrito and let simmer 15-20 minutes on low heat. Add more seasoning to taste

Serving Suggestions

Smothered okra is perfect layered on top of some creamy grits for more of a vegan/vegetarian main entree. You can also enjoy it as a side with any other the following:

Smoked and Fried Cornish Hen

Sous Vide Smoked Brisket

Smoked Pork Chops

Flat-Iron Steak

Smoked Trout

Blackened Chicken

Red Rice and Shrimp

Sausage Dog

 

 

 

stewed okra and tomatoes served over grits

Stewed Okra Cooking Tips

  • As much as possible use fresh ingredients. The fresher the better
  • Make a big batch of the sofrito and use to flavor other dishes
  • Use a good quality smoky paprika. It adds a lot to the flavor 
  • Onions sauteed in bacon fat is a quick way to add flavor, but you lose that clean garden fresh flavor you get with a sofrito base
  • Choose smaller, younger okra pods. The bigger ones have that wood-like texture and also produce more slime. Don't worry long slow stewing nets slime-less okra.
  • Corn adds texture with its crunch which I particularly like.
  • Stewed okra and tomatoes can be covered and refrigerated overnight. I actually prefer waiting a day, because the dish is even more flavorful after a day of sitting.

For similar recipes you might like try these:

okra fried rice

roasted okra

blistered okra

charred okra with harissa sauce

smoked chicken and okra soup

okra fried rice

stewed okra

fried okra

okra and collard green salad

If you make this smothered okra recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

Also, check-out this "How To Cook Okra" post which includes a comprehensive list of delicious okra recipes for all occasions as well as detailed info on the many health benefits of okra.

Stewed Okra with Cuban Sofrito Recipe

Stewed Okra with Cuban Sofrito

Caribbean twist on Southern classic stewed okra. Cuban sofrito is added to the base for an aromatic and flavorful dish.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Modern Soul Food
Servings: 4
Calories: 366kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

Stewed Okra Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ medium onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can corn rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups fresh sliced okra
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups water/vegetable broth or more if necessary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked Stone Ground Grits optional

Sofrito Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded, de-veined and diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 1 small can no-sodium diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup fresh herbs medley basil, oregano, parsley, etc.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Make the sofrito:

  • In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic, and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and let cook for about 5 minutes, until it thickens and reduces. If liquid remains, continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and herbs and let cook for 5 minutes, until the wine reduces and the flavors combine.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour mixture into a blender or food processor. Puree for about one minute, until the sauce still has some texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Will keep refrigerated for 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes about 2 cups.

Make the Stewed Okra

  • Heat a saucepan with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions, garlic, and paprika then saute for about 2 -3 minutes.
  • Then add tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, cayenne, and corn, cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in okra, add water/broth, sofrito, salt and cook for about 15-20 minutes or more stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste
  • Serve with grits or rice.

Notes

  • As much as possible use fresh ingredients. The fresher the better
  • Make a big batch of the sofrito and use to flavor other dishes
  • Onions sauteed in bacon fat is a quick way to add flavor, but you lose that clean garden fresh flavor you get with a sofrito base
  • Choose smaller, younger okra pods. The bigger ones have that wood-like texture and also produce more slime. Don't worry long slow stewing nets slime-less okra.
  • Corn adds texture with its crunch which I particularly like.
  • Stewed okra and tomatoes can be covered and refrigerated overnight. I actually prefer waiting a day, because the dish is even more flavorful after a day of sitting.

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3718IU | Vitamin C: 88mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating




Teresa

Wednesday 26th of June 2019

A friend of mine had given me some fresh okra from his garden which I had never cooked before and didn't know what I should do with it. . My father's caregiver who is originally from Puerto Rico told me of a dish she liked with okra and spam. I was intrigued even though it kind of sounds disgusting. My father's caregiver is a very good cook so I trusted her. I used your delicious recipe as a base and then added about half a can of cubed spam with the okra. It was surprisingly good. Your recipe has good depth of flavor and actually made the spam taste better. I think u should probably leave the spam out if u aren't a fan though.

Marwin Brown

Wednesday 26th of June 2019

That's awesome! It's been a long time since I had spam. My brother and I were pretty creative with it back in the day. I should post some of those recipes lol.