The South. Biscuits, fried chicken, cane syrup, okra, and my mama :). Those are some of the things I think of when I think of Georgia-my home. This recipe combines two of my favorite vegetables (yes, I know “technically” tomatoes are a fruit…noted) into one lip smacking slap yo’ mama lil number that you’re sure to make over and over again. I always recommend using the mostest freshestest fruits and veggies you can find but in the case below..there was no good lookin’ okra available. The brand that I found frozen was in a clear bag and BEAUTIFUL so that’s what went in this masterpiece (that’s what my daddy said when he ate TWO big ol’ bowls). I also subbed in turnips (Southern with a capital S) for the potatoes found in your “normal” fall bowl o’ soup.
In this recipe I use fatback (literally from the fat of the back of the pig used for seasoning). Before you back arrow outta here, hear me out. Fat is good, in small amounts! It adds flavor, body, and that BUHHHZOW! that makes this dish make you wonder why you never experimented with fat back before (yes, it’s THAT good). In all honesty, it adds a depth of flavor unsurpassed by anything that you could throw in here. So, say NO! to turkey bacon today and get yourself some pig fat!
Hearty Georgia Chicken Soup With Okra, Turnips, and Stewed Tomatoes
5 cups Chicken Stock (member my last post for Homemade Chicken Stock? 🙂 )
4 chicken thighs
1 large sweet onion (about a cup) even better if you have a Vidalia still hangin’ around
1/4 cup fat back, diced very small
1/4 cup flour
1 can (15 ounce) stewed tomatoes
1 large turnip (about 1 cup)
3 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (your favorite whether it’s store bought or homemade)
1 Tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 425° and place thighs, skin side up on a baking sheet. Season chicken with a little olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Roast chicken for 40 to 45 minutes until nicely browned and crispy (upper rack in oven). Remove from oven to cool.
If pulling your stock from the freezer go ahead and get it out of the freezer and into a large pot on medium heat. Leaving turnip unpeeled, dice into 1/2″ pieces and set aside. Dice up onion into 1/2″ dice and get the herbs chopped as well. Lastly, dice your fatback (one wash cutting board, woooohooo!). After you’ve got everything chopped and diced shred your (now cooled) chicken and reserve the skin for garnish. I usually cut them into strips with kitchen shears.
In medium pan add tablespoon of butter and onions and cook on medium low heat the onions until they are cooked through. Add seasoning mix and stir about 1 minute (to get out the “rawness” of the seasoning blend). Remove onion from pan to sit with it’s sister, the turnip. Your stock should be hot now (if not, turn the heat up).
In same pan add fatback (on same medium low heat) and let fat render out and pork start to crisp up (takes about 5 minutes). Once it starts browning, add in the flour with a spatula and stir, stir, stir. It will resemble a paste. Continue to stir for a minute or so, you’re making a roux. With a ladle, slowly add in about a cup of stock from your pot and whisk away until smooth. You may need to add another ladle or so of liquid to smooth out your roux. Once it’s smooth, transfer this mixture to the entire pot of stock and stir to incorporate. Turn heat up and let soup come to a quick boil and then turn it down to a simmer.
Add the stewed tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, gently crush with your hands before adding) and turnips and cook until turnips are fork tender (8 to 10 minutes). Add okra and shredded chicken and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Taste soup and adjust seasoning to your liking. Stir in chopped parsley and bowl up. I like to serve this soup over jasmine rice. Right before serving, top with crisped chicken skins.
You can always sub in a rotisserie chicken for this recipe as well as store bought stock (make sure to grab low/no sodium stock) which will enable you to have dinner ready in about 30 minutes.
What’s your favorite soup? Have you ever tried okra? Turnips? What are your thoughts on these veggies? Leave a comment below or feel free to ask me any questions:)