All-Veggie Bahamian(ized) Stew
1/2 cup cooking oil (use your favorite)
1/2 cup white flour (this will give the best consistency for the roux)
1 medium/large onion, double sliced (twice ie. slice the slices again)
1 small/medium green pepper, doubled sliced (same as onion)
2 stalks celery, sliced down middle, then chopped
2 large potatoes (regular used, experiment with others)
2 large carrots, peeled, halved, then chopped
1 box frozen okra OR 4 medium okras washed, sliced 1/8-1/4" thick
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can crushed tomatoes or 4 very ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped (see note)
salt/pepper to taste PLUS hot chilis, habaneros, or scotch bonnet peppers
2 teaspoons browning sauce (substitution offered at end of directions)
options: use any veggies you like, these are just starters
Every Bahamian that cooks learns this from their "Grammies" or "Mammies".
Some measurements are not exact, you WILL need to READ THROUGH first to get a general idea of how it should look. Bahamian cooks do not measure since these recipes are passed down from generations and adapted with each generation and birth-island.
Please note that some veggies get soggy quickly and will need to be added 20-30 minutes before serving time.
ROUX - in a "big pot" or Dutch oven on med/high, put in oil and heat (not to smoking), then add salt and pepper and your choices of hot chili pepper add the okra and cook down until the okra is soft (not slimy), add more oil if necessary. Add the flour stirring to prevent lumps, cook the flour until light brown then reduce heat (may start to clump so reduce heat and cook until it browns). Add the onions, celery, green pepper and stir until they are coated in the flour mixture. Add enough veggie broth or water to cover the veggies that will be added. Add the tomato paste when the onions and other herbs are frying down. Stir the flour/veg mixture until the flour is dissolved in the liquid, add the browning sauce (be very careful a little goes a long way). Turn heat up to med. for 3-5 minutes at this time the flour and okra should have begun to thicken the liquid. To get the roux dissolved you will need to stir the pot very well.
Bring to a boil, add the remaining vegetables (add more liquid if possible, adjust seasonings). After 5 minutes of boiling, reduce to simmer until all veggies are tender and done. The stew sauce should be light to medium brown in color and have a slightly thick gravy/soupy like consistency. I will post a picture for those who would like to try this recipe.
Note: bottled tomatoes are used like tomato "paste" in the Bahamas, except the tomatoes are not pureed and thick. You can use fresh, really ripened tomatoes for the same product.
Browning sauce link. Many Caribbeans cook sugar down until it is dark and liquid form, the end product should not be burnt or sweet, it should have a slightly dark taste and color to it.