Okra with Tomato Sauce

by Sarah on March 4, 2013

Good lawdy Miss Clawdy, it’s another installment of COOKBOOK MANIA!  I know!  I read all these old cookbooks but I’ve just gotten out of the habit of actually trying out some of the recipes.  Today we’re going a little bit country, with good old Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking.  It’s a favorite.

To get into the swing of things I may have broken out some country records. Oh, be quiet.  I like records.  Real records, like the vinyl ones.  I hear the hipsters like them again.  I buy them at garage sales.  Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty made my heart swoon.

What’s more country that a bit of okra?  Maybe biscuits and gravy or a good old country ham, but okra is definitely up there.  I like that this dish wasn’t fried and had more simple, straightforward flavors.

I liked too, that Mr. Claiborne–like Mr. Beard–did not turn his nose up at frozen vegetables.  Yeah, yeah, local and in season, blah blah blah.  I know. Sometimes simply frozen vegetables without additives are just plain fine. Frozen peas?  LOVE THEM.  Frozen okra?  Also fabulous.  And the first of three easy steps.

Rock Island Line?  Why, I’d love to.  Johnny Cash’s birthday was the other day.  He would’ve been 81 I think.  I know that because every single person on the planet put it on Facebook.

Easy thing #2:  The sauce is a blended up can of tomatoes.  Seriously.

Rinse then cook these babies in a bit of water till cooked.  Yes, okra can get a little slimy-ish.  Embrace it!  The slime is just part of okra’s country charm.  Did you know that the slimy part of okra actually acts as a thickener?  It’s true. But you probably already knew that.

Look at my thumb ring.  My friend Jen made it and it’s real pretty in person. My hand looks malformed in this photo, however.

Easy thing #3:  Pour in tomato sauce and add a hunk of butter.  Cook.

Cover it and go listen to a record while the sauce thickens up.  You could probably even dance a two-step if you wanted to.

I got this record at a garage sale too.  It’s my first Tammy Wynette record.  I didn’t grow up listening to any country music to speak of.  My dad liked bluegrass and folk music but that’s about as far as he went when I was a kid. Or maybe Islands in the Stream.  Or ELVIRA.  HAHAHA.  Sorry.

I don’t even know what I’m talking about any more.  What does any of this have to do with okra?  I may be spewing nonsense, but this okra dish is not. Craig Claiborne knows what he speaks of.  Okra, tomatoes, butter, salt, pepper.  Do it.

Craig Claiborne's Okra in Tomato Sauce


  • 2 lbs fresh baby okra, or one big bag of frozen whole okra
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • salt, pepper


  • Wash the okra in cold water. If using frozen, keep rinsing until the okra is mostly defrosted.
  • Put the okra into a pan and add about 1/2 cup cold water. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the okra is tender.
  • While the okra is cooking, put the tomatoes and juice into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Drain okra and add tomatoes, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, partly cover, and cook until the okra is tender and the sauce has thickened, approximately ten minutes.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

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