Creole Smothered Okra with Shrimp, Sausage and Chicken Recipe

Growing up this was my favorite meal.  I loved it so.  It got to the point where when I moved away, whenever I returned, an Elder would make it for me.  It's not something I make with frozen okra, so it's very seldom that I made it up North, but Robby's parents gave us some fresh okra straight out of their garden last night and I got up first thing EARLY this morning (had people in town) to make a double batch of it so we could all enjoy.

And BAAAAAAAAAAAABY...it was so good it was crazy.  The okra was so fresh it was like butter.  I'm mad I didn't grab a pic or two before I got down and that we had people around all day so I couldn't take the time to take step-by-step pictures.  I'll try and take a pic of a plate of it tomorrow to add to this.  I'm not promising anything though because it was so good I might not be able to stop long enough to take a pic.

This is one of those meals some folks will turn their nose up at because they've never had okra done properly and well, there is nothing more unsettling than slimy okra in your mouth.  Most of us know that you need the acid from tomatoes to cook the slime out in a dish like this but there are plenty of people who clearly missed that country lesson cuz they were too busy being cute to help the Elders out in the kitchen.

Me?  I didn't have a choice.  LOL!  Thank God! 

1 lb. fresh okra, trimmed and cut

1 sweet onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 bay leaves

3 cloves garlic, diced

1.5 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, seasoned

1 lb. sausage, sliced and browned

1 - 28 ounce can Rotel tomatoes and chilis, mild

1 - 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes and chilis, spicy

1 cup chicken broth

2 pounds chicken wings cut into drummettes, seasoned and browned

Olive oil

Saute onion, bell pepper, okra and garlic in olive oil for ten minutes over medium heat.  Add canned tomatoes and bay leaves.  Continue cooking for about 15 minutes more until "slime" has lessoned greatly.  While doing this, brown chicken in a cast iron skillet and remove to a waiting plate or bowl and then brown sausage.  Add chicken, sausage and chicken broth to pot.  Cover and cook on medium low heat for forty minutes.  Add shrimp.  Cook for another 20 minutes.

Serve over rice with cornbread.

Try not to overeat as I did and, at the end of the day have counted four plates that were your undoing.  If you do eat four plates and find yourself too full to move even though you were moving, just get you some Smooth Move man...nobody needs to know and/or worry.

Oh...and remember...this is one of them man catching meals so don't be whupping this out all willy nilly and mess around and get a stalker okay?  

You've been warned.

 

Creamy Creole Red Beans

It's no secret that I LURVE red beans and rice.  But only mine.  LOL!  I'm far too critical of other people's red beans and rice so I don't even try them.  I know...bad Mingo...BAD!

But my beans are pretty dang delish.  If you've ever had them...you know this for sure. 

Here is my recipe for each pound of beans you're cooking:

1 lb red beans (Rinse and sort beans and then START SOAKING IN WATER THE MORNING BEFORE THE DAY YOU COOK THEM!  The gas needs to expel.  Look for white fluffy stuff on top of the water.)

1 ham bone or 1 lb ham hocks (This is why you save the bone with the difficult to cut meat on it from the Christmas ham...just wrap it good in foil and put in a ziploc freezer bag!  When I don't have one I use ham hocks.)

1 - 2 lbs sausage (sliced and browned)

1 yellow onion

1 bell pepper

5 stalks of celery

3 cloves of garlic minced

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon of thyme

9 cups of chicken broth (I use Herbox chicken granules http://www.hormelfoods.com/Brands/BrandWall/Herb-Ox-bouillon)

I season the beans while they are soaking in the water.

I season the beans while they are soaking in the water.

Salt and pepper (black and cayenne) to taste  *NOTE!  I DON'T PUT IN SALT UNTIL THE VERY END AS YOU NEVER KNOW HOW SALTY THE HAM HOCK WILL BE!  WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR LAST "TASTE" ADJUST SALT THEN...YOU PROBABLY WON'T NEED ANY!

In olive oil, saute diced onion, celery, garlic and bell pepper for about 10 minutes.  Add thyme, bay leaves,  black and cayenne pepper.  Add beans, broth, and ham hocks/bone.

Bring to boil uncovered. Add sausage.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.  YES...I SAID TWO HOURS!  The best cooking is done slooooooooooooooow!

After two hours, remove ham bone and put on plate.  Then, scoop out about 1/2 cup of beansand mash them up.  Carve meat off bone into bite sized pieces.  Put meat ONLY back in pot.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Bring to another low boil and stir mashed beans in well making sure they don't stick to bottom of pot.  Lower temperature and simmer on low, covered, for 20 minutes.  This makes the beans creamy.

Serve over brown rice.  Oh yeah...they will be muuuuuuuuuuch better tomorrow!  LOL!

SMOOCHES!

P.S.  For non-pork eaters...I guess you can use smoked turkey...but I wouldn't know cuz I use pork...the pig ain't never done nuttin to me!  I eat it "from the rooter to the tooter!"


"Don't Put Me On that Blog"

Elder and I

Elder and I

Early on when I started blogging, I got into an argument with a family member about "being on the blog."  See...they always worried about their business being put out there.  You know...cuz they have SOOOOOOOO much interesting business. (Note sarcasm.)  So...I stopped talking about their azzes.  You'd swear I grew from weeds in a forest how much I DON'T say about my family on my blog cuz hey...I might be a bad azz in my head but we all know that I don't want no trouble when it comes to my family.  We fight dirty with each other at times even if we'd be the first people right there when we need each other.

Now it doesn't mean that they don't read the blog because I was shocked to find out how many do...and I still find that interesting seeing as though many of them think the internet is for email only.

Dealing with family every single day is a major part of who we all are.  Especially me.  I mean...I love my people.  I love where I come from.  I love the total complex mix-mash of practically everything good and bad that we are.  We are straight up 'bout THAT GUMBO LIFE.

But I don't talk about them on the blog.  LOL!

A couple of years ago, one of my cousins asked me why I don't ever put them on the blog.  I told them that it was easier to not write about them than to figure out who had a problem with it and therefore I don't have to wonder who is walking around mad about what the hell ever.  I mean...I put a picture up once of a relative that I thought was beautiful.  She got mad because I didn't crop out a basket of laundry she was folding while watching television.  Said it made her living room look junky.  It wasn't mind you...I mean...she was simply folding clothes but hey...her perception of how she wants to be seen should be up to her.  I took the picture down and apologized.  No biggie.  

I said all that to say that I hardly ever talk about my family on my blog but I'm going to today.  I want to talk about my Uncle, my father's youngest brother.  Why?  Because he's nothing short of amazing to me.  I've been getting to know him more adult-to-adult and he's a pretty great Elder.  He brings me joy because he's kinda like me.  He's taken the best of who are and made it work for him.  Our family's love of outdoors, good food, music, laughter, etc.  He loves good wine and good people.  He straight up LIVES life to the fullest.  

And it shows.

This past weekend, he went to a big salsa dancing event with his lady friend and then the next morning they got up and did a breast cancer awareness walk on three hours of sleep.  Throughout both events he sent me pictures, which is a good thing, because even though he joined Facebook a couple of months ago...he's real lax on uploading pictures.  LOL!  And hell...I like to see pictures because it makes me smile.

Unc looks exactly like my father...which isn't surprising because we all look alike.  But he looks like him so much so that it's hard to look at him sometimes and not get gripped by the shadows of whys.  When he hugs me, he hugs me tight.  And then...he just lingers there with a hand on my arm or across my shoulders.  He's easy with his praise and he is quick to express his pride in you.  He is good at seeing you exactly as you are.  He's a talented architect and wants to help me plan our next house.  He understands that I don't ask for help with anything and why.  And this is why he has no problem offering. "Why would you pay all that to someone else when your Unc can help you?"

Good point.  We'll see.  It's hard for me.  You know why.  Thanks for understanding.

I'm really proud of my Uncle and I love how I feel when I'm around him.  He makes me laugh out loud often and I enjoy interacting with him and this is why I put him on my blog.  LOL!

Slowly but surely my Elders are joining Facebook and posting pictures and whatnot and I'm enjoying seeing sides of them they don't necessarily show us "kids."  I love looking at the old pictures they post from when they were younger because I don't really get to see those since I've lived away from everyone for a very long time and pack in what I can when I visit.  I love how the pictures trigger stories I haven't heard and how they introduce me to other family members I don't know...but know...you know?

Yeah...you know.

So...your Elders.  Any of the cool ones on Facebook?  Are they bringing you joy?  

Those of you who blog...what's your family's take on being "on the blog?"