Creole Beef and Okra Soup

Today is a welcome respite from the brually hot temperatures we’ve had so far this summer. In fact, the past three or four days have been very nice for a Georgia summer. And it has been raining! Mostly hit-and-run thunderstorms. But today…ahhhh…a beautiful, steady rain. The kind that gives the thirsty ground time to soak it up and feel relief. The kind of rain that revives flowers and garden plants. Yes, it’s a “soft old day” as they say in Ireland.

And I think the very best thing to cook on a “soft old day” is a pot of soup. One that takes a while to simmer and develop its flavors. A soup that uses the best seasonal ingredients and is comforting to the palate. That’s exactly what I think this Creole Beef and Okra Soup is – comforting. From the first bite to the last slurp from the spoon, it’s like a hug from an old friend. Warm and soothing with familiar Southern flavors.

To get started, put the beef short ribs in your largest soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the water and bring it up to a boil.

Skim the "scum" from the soup

After boiling for several minutes, you’ll notice some not so attractive scum rising to the top of the pot. Don’t worry, it’s normal. You’ll want to skim that off and discard it. It won’t hurt anything to leave it, but the soup won’t be so pretty when it’s finished.

Bouquet garni for Creole Beef and Okra Soup

Now make a little bouquet garni with bay leaves, parsley and thyme.

Aromatics for Creole Beef and Okra Soup

Add the bouquet garni, onions, and carrots to the pot. Reduce the heat and cook at a simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender. It will take about 1 1/2 hours. A good time to go read a book and watch the soft rain falling.

Add veggies to Creole Beef and Okra Soup

Now add the beans, celery, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Go back to your book and let the soup continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Cooked short ribs

Next, remove the short ribs and set them aside. Remove and discard the bouquet garni, carrots, and onions.

Add okra and rice to Creole Beef and Okra Soup

At this point you’ll notice some accumulated fat floating on top of your soup. It’s up to you whether you remove that or not. If you’re inclined to get rid of it, you can do so by skimming the surface with a spoon. Or if, like me, you don’t mind so much just leave it there. The rice pretty much absorbs it and takes care of that little issue. Add the okra and rice and continue to simmer until the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

When the short ribs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Serve the soup with some of the meat and a garnish of finely diced fresh tomatoes.

Enjoy!

Creole Beef and Okra Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A long-simmering soup perfect for rainy days. Combines beef short ribs, okra, tomatoes, and rice in a distinctly Southern recipe.
Serves: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. beef short ribs
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • Bouquet garni of 2 bay leaves, parsley, and large pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 2 carrots, halved
  • 1/4 lb. small green beans
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 14 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 pound fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1/3 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Garnish: Finely diced fresh tomato
Instructions
  1. Place the short ribs in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add the water and bring to a boil. After boiling for several minutes, skim off any scum that rises to the top.
  2. Add the bouquet garni, onions, and carrots. Cook at a simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender – approximately 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Add the beans, celery, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Continue cooking for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the meat and set it aside. Discard the bouquet garni, carrots, and onions. Add the okra and rice and continue to simmer until the rice is cooked – approximately 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Serve soup with some of the meat and a garnish of finely diced fresh tomatoes.
Notes
Adapted from The Heritage of Southern Cooking by Camille Glenn

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Comments

    • says

      Aly – you’re going to just love this soup when your weather turns a little cooler. We’ve had 100+ temperatures here, too, but the last few days have been great. And today’s rain just seemed like the perfect time to post this recipe.

  1. says

    We had rain yesterday and it looks like today as well… which is RARE here in Southern California…. remnants I think of a hurricane off Mexico that was in the window. This soup looks fabulous Lana – have definitely bookmarked for when the weather is cooler here – would make a perfect weeknight dinner when everyone is running in 18 different directions!!

    • says

      It is great for weeknight, Nancy, if you plan ahead a little. It holds beautifully and keeps nicely in the fridge for several days.

    • says

      Nothing would make me happier, Margaret, than knowing that you were enjoying a bowl of this soup. If I was still there I’d make a pot full for you. Hope you’re feeling well.

  2. says

    y’all must of gotten a cold spell with that rain. yup, we are having our daily showers but the heat still feels like it’s in the hundreds… very nice soup, love a good beef veggie soup and you made that pot mighty proud… I can’t just taste the depth with reading every step… our okra is coming on strong now, so lots of it is going into the freezer, for soups just like this one… have a great weekend…

  3. says

    My family in NW Arkansas have been enduring the heat and hoping for a little of the rain that has come your way. We don’t see too much fresh okra out here and its something I miss. I’d love a bowl of this comforting soup.

    • says

      Here’s hoping your Arkansas folks get some rain very soon! We were surprised by that little cool, rainy spell we had. Very unusual for this time of year.

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