Think of it as a gumbo-light. Kinda. Or chicken and gravy over grits. Kinda. Whatever it is, it’s easy comfort food.
Inspired by the handful of okra I picked from the garden, I threw this together with mostly stuff I had on hand, including a bunch of boneless chicken breast tenderloins but it’d be just as good if not better with boneless thighs. Or shrimp.
Grits were the natural choice but rice would make a decent alternative for those who don’t eat grits. Either way, get it started while the chicken is cooking.
- Boneless Chicken, breast tenderloins or thighs, 2 pounds or so
- Bacon, 1/2 pound
- Celery, 3 or 4 ribs
- Green Pepper, 1
- Okra, a dozen or so
- Thyme Sprigs
- Bay Leaves, 2
- Cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon or more
- Chicken Bouillon or Stock, 2 cups
- Worcestershire Sauce, 2 tablespoons
- Cream, 1/3 cup, optional
Dice the bacon and start it cooking in a large skillet or saute pan. I dump the bacon into a cold pan, turn the heat on medium and let it cook, stirring to break it up as it starts to heat up.
Meanwhile, dice the pepper and slice the celery.
Once the bacon starts to get crispy, remove it from the pan and set it aside on a paper towel covered plate. Turn the heat to medium high and add the chicken, letting it good nice and brown before turning it.
While the chicken is cooking, rinse the okra and slice off the tough tops. Or leave them whole. Your choice.
Brown the chicken on the other side then remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Don’t forget to start the grits. No instant grits allowed so put 9 cups of water on to boil. By the time the chicken is simmering and the water comes to a boil, whisk in 2 cups of grits, reduce the heat and cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re done.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the celery and pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften. Add the pepper, bay leaves and thyme.
Return the chicken to the pan, add the broth and the okra. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the chicken is done and the okra is tender.
Remove the spent thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Dump the bacon back in and add just a little cream. Or skip the extra fat and calories by skipping the cream.
Dish it up over a plate of grits and enjoy!