Okra Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    4 to 6


Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About


  • 3 pounds meaty beef bones, hacked into pieces
  • 12 cups water
  • pounds fresh okra
  • 3 ripe tomatoes (about pounds)
  • 2 medium-size onions
  • 1 slice of bacon, or 1 thin slice of country ham, cut into small cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste, if desired
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Put the bones in a kettle and add cold water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer 1 minute. Drain and run under cold water until chilled. Put the bones in a clean kettle and add about 12 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil, partly cover, and cook for 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, cut off and discard the stem ends of the okra. Cut the pods crosswise into ½-inch lengths. There should be about 5 cups. Set aside.
  3. Cut away and discard the cores of the tomatoes. Peel the tomatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. There should be about 3 cups. Set aside.
  4. Peel and finely chop the onions. There should be about 2 cups.
  5. When the beef has cooked about 2 hours, strain the liquid and reserve the bones. There should be about 8 cups of liquid. Put the liquid in a kettle and add the okra, tomatoes, onions, and bacon or ham. Add the bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to the boil and cook 2 hours longer.
  6. Meanwhile, cut away any meat from the bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Discard the bones. Add the meat to the soup. Heat thoroughly and serve piping hot.