Okra is one of my favorite summer veggies. I picked up a couple of pounds of fresh okra and several ripe tomatoes to make stewed okra and tomatoes for supper, but I later decided to make an okra and tomato casserole. I thought it would go well with fried pork chops.
Yes, it’s true; I frequently change my mind about what I’m going to make after I pick up the ingredients. It’s certain to happen almost every time I decide to make a particular recipe. I jot down the ingredients, run up to the market, pick up the ingredients, and change my mind on the drive home.
I’m really bad about it, too. Sometimes I ask my husband what he wants to eat. I’ll gather the ingredients, then make something completely different. He says he doesn’t know why I ask him what he wants when I make what I want in the end. So true.
Today, stewed okra and tomatoes became an okra and tomato casserole with a super big pinch of fresh thyme from my herb garden. The good thing is that my husband enjoyed the casserole. Not that it would change things.
I do admit that the casserole didn’t quite compliment the pizza I made to go with it. Yes, the pork chops went by the wayside, too.
I’m sure frozen okra and canned tomatoes would work just fine in this recipe. I use fresh veggies when possible, so I’ve never made this dish with anything other than fresh veggies. If you do, please let me know how it turns out.
Here’s how to make an okra and tomato casserole:
Start by cooking the okra in pot of salted boiling water. I usually leave it whole, then boil it for about 2-3 minutes. Okra cooks fast, so don’t let boil beyond 3 minutes. It will be slimy and mushy and fall apart. I like ripe but firm tomatoes. Roughly chop 4 cups of tomatoes. Once the okra is cooled, trim the ends, and cut up the okra. Don’t worry about slicing it evenly. Toss the okra, tomatoes, thyme, and half of the bread crumbs together.
Make a white roux—Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the flour. Stir until the flour dissolves and starts to turn golden brown. Add the milk and seasoning. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes.
Pour veggies and the roux in a small casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs.
I baked the okra and tomato casserole at 350 degrees, and it took about 45 minutes for the liquid to thicken and turn a nice toasty color.
Okra and Tomato Casserole
- 12 ounces fresh whole okra
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper
- pinch of fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil okra in 6 cups of generously salted water until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop okra.
To make a roux, melt butter in small saucepan. Add flour and stir until dissolved. Add milk, salt and pepper and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. The mixture will slightly thicken as it cooks.
Toss together okra, tomatoes, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and thyme. Transfer to a small baking dish. Pour seasoned milk over top of vegetables; sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until liquid is golden brown and thick.
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