Okra's characteristic sliminess functions as a natural, flavorful thickening agent in stews and soups.
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon plus olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 pound okra, tops removed and sliced thickly
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth, with 1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup queso freso cheese, plus extra for garnish*
1 cup cooked grain of your choice, such as quinoa, brown rice, or couscous
1. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, warm olive oil. Add onions; saute 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
2. Add chicken. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, or until browned.
3. Add red bell peppers, okra, and jalapeno. Saute 3 minutes.
4. Add diced tomatoes with juice, vegetable broth with cornstarch, cumin, and salt. Raise heat to high; bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but not mushy, and the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh cilantro and queso fresco. Season with salt as desired.
5. Add 1/4 cup cooked grains to each dish. Top with 1/4 of the stew. Garnish with additional cheese and cilantro. Serve immediately.
*Queso fresco, a mild
flavored, soft Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture, is available at
Mexican specialty markets as well as the refrigerator section of most
major supermarkets. Cotija anejo, another mild-flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly
texture, is a good substitute and is also found in most major supermarkets.