Okay, I admit it… “Okra Bundt Pan Stuffing” was NOT my original plan for this recipe.
The ORIGINAL plan was to make a Salsa Verde using Pickled Okra instead of Tomatillos (Yes, I made the fermented okra and experimented with the seasonings which I could have submitted as an entry, but-it-seemed-too-simple-and-obvious-so-I just-HAPPENED-to pickle-it-as-an-element-in-the-Bigger-Picture [*breathe*]).
My Okra fermentation turned out nicely salty and pucker-y and I felt confident it would be a wonderful base.
I diced the onions, chopped the cilantro, minced the garlic, roasted-peeled-seeded-and-chopped the jalapenos and tossed it all together with the lime juice.
It seemed like this recipe was going to be a Big Winner, until I chopped the okra into bite-sized chunks and threw it into the food processor with the fennel.
Okra is creepy and disgusting and should be the star of a horror film!
I COULD NOT believe the gelatinous gooey substance that the okra became (*spunky blog writer throws-up a little in mouth*).
While letting my stomach settle I amused myself by sending playfully accusatory texts to Sherry about her choice of ingredient (one message read “So, it occurred to me that I’ve never actually worked with okra before… What is this?!? The a**hole of the vegetable kingdom? It’s being highly rebellious and uncooperative 😉 ”)
I gathered my resolve to refuse culinary defeat and decided this uber sticky-yet-flavorful blob would be the perfect healthy binder for bundt pan stuffing. I just happened to have a package of stuffing in the pantry, so this unexpected recipe actually came together quite easily.
I baked this dish ahead-of-time and stored it in the refrigerator overnight. Shortly before traveling to Somerland for the duel, I released the bread from the pan, brushed the whole thing with a generous coat of coconut oil and returned it to the pan. While we were grilling the rest of the meal over mesquite coals, I set the bunt nearby to reheat and absorb the mesquite smoke smell.
IT WAS FAN-F*CKING-TASTIC!
In a scene very reminiscent of the old “How did You Two Meet?” commercials promoting a certain Chocolate and PeanutButter Cup; once Sherry’s Ground Nut Stew bumped uglies with my Okra Corn Bread, they made beautiful, beautiful food babies!
AmbeR’s Okra Bundt Pan Stuffing (aka Okra Cornbread)
2 cup pickled okra (if you don’t already have a tried-and-true family recipe, this one is nice)
½ white onion, diced
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 roasted jalapenos, peeled, seeded and diced (refresher instructions here)
3 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup lime juice
½ Tsp fennel seed
1 14oz package of pre-made cornbread stuffing (read the label carefully if you are preparing this recipe for strict vegetarians/vegans or people with food allergies. Most of the stuffing mixes I found had some kind of chicken stock/fat in them. I ended up using a Classic Cornbread Stuffing by Pepperidge Farms that was vegetarian, but not vegan.)
Oil and flour-of-choice for preparing small (7 ½ inch) bundt pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 7.5 inch bundt pan (or pan of choice) with flour of your preference.
Thoroughly blend/food process the pickled okra and the fennel (this will quickly become a creepy gelatinous blob. Try not to panic.)
Stir together all ingredients until evenly distributed.
Press mixture into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees approximately 45 minutes, until edges are starting to brown and it is firm yet springy to the touch.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before turning it out of the pan onto serving plate.
Turn the bread out of the mold, apply coconut oil or butter to the exterior of the bread and the interior of the pan, and return the bread to the pan.
Bring the pre-cooked dish to a camp-out or bbq and set on a rock or grate NEAR the coals (but not directly over the heat) to allow the coconut oil/butter to absorb and crisp the bread, and the smoke to enrich the flavors.
The first dish in our challenge is a ground nut stew. A creamy and filling soup with West African origins. Since dairy products are scarce in Africa, ground peanuts are used to give the dish its signature velvety texture.
Sherry’s Ground Nut Stew in Somerland
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 stick of butter
1 yellow squash
1/2 egg plant
1/2 bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
7 pods of okra
water and salt.
Chop all vegetables to bite size and add all but the okra to the melted butter.
Sauté until translucent then add enough water to cover the vegetables.
Stir in peanut butter and stir until smooth.
Season to taste. Once half the water is cooked out add the okra & cook until your desired consistency.
*This stew may be vegetarian fare or you can add the traditional meat, chicken, to give it an extra bump.
**I would never have thought that okra and peanut butter would taste good together, but let me tell ya, It’s good!