slow-cooker chicken and okra

February 28, 2014  |  Main Course

This is an old favorite recipe for chicken thighs and drumsticks cooked in a slow-cooker. It has tomatoes, red wine, bell peppers and okra. The slow braising makes the chicken ultra tender. I top it off with tons of fresh parsley and serve it with brown jasmine rice.

slow-cooker-chicken-and-okra

The story behind this recipe is actually a story behind a story behind a story. It involves a rooster or six, a very pregnant recipe tester, a prankster food editor and two tropical vacations. It is a long one, so if you’re not up for reading, I don’t mind if you skip to the recipe. It stands alone in its awesomeness.

Thank goodness for braising

I thought of sharing this recipe with you because of the most recent chapter in the story. When we were down in the Cayman islands earlier this month, my mom went to the local farmers’ market and got all excited. She ended up buying enough chicken to last us for a month, even though we were only there a week. The first night she did a simple preparation of roasted chicken with two of them. One bite and it was quickly apparent that the “farmer” she had purchased them from had more likely chased down several of the roadside roosters that we had previously thought to be so quaint. We laughed it off and declared that the recipe should be called Roasted Yard Bird!

The next day my sister Jessie and I were talking about what to do with all the left-over yard birds my mom had stocked us up with. With limited kitchen tools, and not a lot of fresh vegetables on the island, Jessie and I were quickly in agreement that we had to make Jimmo’s Chicken and Okra. That’s what this recipe is.

slow-cooker-chicken-and-okra

The Original Recipe

The real beginning of the story of this recipe began on another tropical vacation on the island of Saint John in 1997. My sis and I were down there with my Dad, his second wife, my half brother and sister, my grandmother and my ex-step mother’s niece. (Yeah that same side of my big strange family I mentioned here.) The niece, whos name I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember, made the predecessor of this recipe. Jessie and I fell in love with the meltingly tender chicken, the rich tomato sauce, the okra. It soon became a dish we both made at home in our own kitchens on a regular basis.

Fast forward a few years to 2006, I was working as a recipe developer in the EatingWell test kitchen. I was pregnant with my first daughter. My sister Jessie was the associate food editor at the time. The food editor, Jim Romanoff, had set me loose to develop a long list of recipes for the upcoming Serves Two cookbook. The list had come from ideas that the whole Test Kitchen Staff had pitched in a planning meeting, and the Chicken and Okra Stew was on the line-up. Jessie and I were so excited to be bringing the chicken stew to the masses.

Introducing Jimmo

Here is where Jimmo comes into the story. I mentioned I was preggo at the time. Well, my husband and I had made the decision to not find out the gender of the baby, so there was much workplace speculation of whether or not the baby would be a girl, what the baby would be named, and of course what everyone thought the baby SHOULD be named. My sister and Jim in particular loved to come up with ridiculous options like, “What about Edie Brickell Webster? That would be pretty.” Or “How about Tony?” You know because I am 0% Italian. After driving past a local run-down motel named Jimmo’s Motel, earlier that morning, my sister offered up the name “Jimmo” one day. As if that should be an obvious choice for our first born. And for some reason, it stuck. Don’t ask me why. For the remainder of my pregnancy the baby was known as Jimmo. In fact my sister had a teeny tiny Jimmo T-Shirt made for my baby shower.

Jimmo's Motel

I was off on maternity leave when the Serves Two cookbook came out, and on page 113 there it was. The Chicken and Okra Stew, except, unbeknownst to me, Jim Romanoff had decided to add a new chapter to the story of the stew. He named the stew “Jimmo’s Chicken & Okra.” And the best part was that he made up a fictitious headnote describing that the stew was inspired by “Our friend Jimmo” who enjoyed eating it when he was growing up in South Carolina.

jimmos-chicken-and-okra-15

I was completely caught off guard, and loved the joke. I asked Jim if he would mind if I shared the full story with you all today, and he gladly agreed to let the cat out of the bag. Now I am so glad the recipe is heading out to you all and you can add your own chapters to the story. I hope you enjoy it as much as Jimmo and I do. {P.S. No, we didn’t end up naming her Jimmo.}jimmos age 17 months, developer of the famous chicken and okra

slow-cooker chicken and okra

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup vegetable 1 piece of chicken

slow-cooker chicken and okra

Bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks cooked in the slow cooker with tomatoes, bell peppers and okra until tender as can be.

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in chicken legs
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil, preferably organic, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large onions, sliced (French cut)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry Italian Seasoning
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped green olives
  • 2 bell peppers any color, or 4 cubanelle peppers, cored and sliced
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken legs into two pieces, along the fat line that runs between the thigh and drumstick.
  2. Remove skin, trimming at the bottom of the drumstick if necessary. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side. (Note: The chicken will not be cooked through.) Transfer the chicken to the insert of a slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining chicken, reducing heat to medium as necessary to prevent scorching.
  4. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the wine to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato and olives, increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Pour tomato mixture over the onions. Add peppers to the slow cooker and cover.
  6. Turn slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4. In last half hour of cooking, remove lid and layer okra on top. Cover and let continue to cook the remaining 30 minutes.
  7. To serve gently remove chicken pieces to pasta bowls. Stir the vegetables together. Ladle the vegetable mixture around the meat and top with a generous amount of parsley.

Notes

To make ahead, prepare through step 5. Cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours ahead. Continue with step 6.

http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/slow-cooker-chicken-okra/

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13 Comments


  1. I have a confession. I have never in my life eaten okra! I might just have to try it now though because this looks awesome! Also your daughter is so freaking adorable.
    Ari recently posted…Drink & Dish: Cafe Au Lait CupcakesMy Profile

  2. look at you preggos!! so adorable, what a cute little bump you had! and it goes without saying your daughter is killing it with those striped stockings – cuteness overload! and obviously I’m loving this chicken, so easy, healthy, and comforting.
    Christine recently posted…10 Minute Sweet & Spicy ShrimpMy Profile

  3. Thanks. I am still cringing at the fact that I decide to include that photo in this post. My bump didn’t seem so little to me. I miss those days with the striped tights. Sigh.
    Katie recently posted…cherry berry breakfast cookies – naturebox giveawayMy Profile

  4. This is my new favorite way to eat chicken of uncertain provenance. As the said buyer of the “road birds” as well as mother of our dear Katie and grandmother of Jimmo, I am grateful for your rescue and for the great story.

  5. Love this story! I’m a huge okra fan and I really like the idea of putting it with chicken. Definitely making this! Great post, Katie.
    Bill recently posted…Brunswick StewMy Profile

  6. Katie — your site is always my go to when i need a great recipe. Made this last night and it was a huge hit!!

  7. LOL. what a Jimmo story! Loved it! And look at you pregnant. And you can write! You really opened up this year.:) Pinned!
    Olena recently posted…Spicy Coconut Swiss ChardMy Profile

  8. Thanks for the great story and cute pics! I am not very experienced with okra and my neighbor just gave me some beautiful red okra. So I am having breaded fried okra for breakfast (yum) and today I will use this recipe in my wee one-person crockpot with a Cornish Game Hen, baby carrots, tomato, mini peppers, okra, onion, and garlic. And skin on. I figure if someone has to give up chicken skin, they’re just eating too damn much chicken.

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