For me, okra was a learned taste. However, after thirty years of living in the South, okra has become a vegetable that I associate with great food.
I created this recipe as a way of using up a half pound of okra that didn’t have a home—not really enough to fry, and surely not enough to make another recipe of gumbo.
Okra is highly perishable, so if you let it stay in the fridge more than a day or two, it will start to turn brown and you’ll need to exile it to the compost pile.
Make sure that you take the Quorn Naked Chik’n Cutlets out of the freezer before you leave for work, and let them thaw in the fridge.
Except for the time-consuming process of making real corn grits, this recipe clocks in at around thirty-five to forty minutes, which puts it a just a wee bit north of my thirty-minute meal mark. If you’re willing to use instant grits as the base for the Pepper Jack Grits, and do a little prep work in advance, this can probably still qualify as an Easy Weeknight Meal. However, we love the taste and texture of the slow-stirred, stone ground yellow corn grits, so we are willing to spend that additional cooking time to make this on a weekend.
- 1–2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Baby Vidalia onions, tops and roots removed, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 medium red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks
- ¼ pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (about 2 cups)
- ½ pound small okra pods, wiped clean and sliced in thin rounds (a little less than 2 cups)
- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 sprigs oregano
- 2 sprigs parsley
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package Quorn Naked Chik'n Cutlets (4 cutlets), thawed
- 3 sprigs parsley, finely minced
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat a skillet and add the olive oil. Sauté the onions for 5–6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute, and then the bell pepper. Cook for 3–4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, and sauté for 4–5 more minutes.
- Clean the okra (see head note) while the mushrooms are sautéing. Add the okra and sauté for about 2–3 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Put in the whole sprigs of thyme, oregano and parsley (you'll take them later). Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Take out the herb sprigs, taste, and correct seasoning. Make sure the okra is tender enough. If not, cover the skillet and cook it a little longer.
- Lightly oil 4 small individual baking dishes or one small rectangular baking dish that will hold all 4 cutlets. Put a little of the sauce on the bottom and then put in the cutlets with the rounded side facing up. Pour the sauce over the cutlets. Bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh minced parsley.
- Serve with Pepper Jack Grits.