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.
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.
Now make a little bouquet garni with bay leaves, parsley and thyme.
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.
Now add the beans, celery, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Go back to your book and let the soup continue cooking for 30 minutes.
Next, remove the short ribs and set them aside. Remove and discard the bouquet garni, carrots, and onions.
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.
Other okra soup recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Okra and Tomato Soup from About.com Southern Food
- Okra-Rice Soup from Veg Kitchen with Nava Atlas
- Lima Bean Okra Soup from Taste of Home
- Aunt Leslie’s Blackeyed Pea and Okra Soup from Chef John Folse
What I was up to…