Pair easy, slow-cooked, slightly saucy plump red beans with simple slices of roasted okra and addictive, seriously peppery cakes of grits that are crusty on the outside and creamy inside, and you have one satisfying meal.
Though this dish is ready to go as-is, if you have extra time and energy, try crusting the okra before baking.
Red Beans and Broiled Grits Squares with Roasted Okra
For the beans:
8 oz dried kidney beans, soaked for 8 hours
2 cups water
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 TBSP chickpea flour
1 TBSP nutritional yeast (optional)
1 TBSP olive oil
3/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
For the okra:
2 cups frozen sliced okra
2 tsp olive oil
generous pinch fine sea or kosher salt
For the grits:
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper, to taste
2 TBSP olive oil
hot sauce (optional)
Drain and rinse soaked beans and add them along with 2 cups water, onion powder, marjoram, bay leaf, and liquid smoke to a slow cooker. Cook on low until tender, about 7 hours. Drain again, reserving the cooking liquid. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 425. Toss the frozen okra with oil and salt. Cook until browned and tender, about 45 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Prepare the grits by bringing 2 1/2 cups water and salt to a boil over high heat. Add grits, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring very frequently, for 5 minutes. Add pepper and oil, stir until the grits have soaked up the oil, and remove from heat. Transfer to a loaf pan and chill until firm, about half an hour.
To finish the beans, heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpea flour and toast, tossing, for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add the nutritional yeast and oil and whisk to form a paste. Continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the reserved cooking liquid from the beans and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes--it will not thicken dramatically, but it will gain a little body. Stir in the beans, adjust seasoning, if necessary, and keep warm.
Heat the oven broiler with a rack in the second highest position. Slice the chilled grits and transfer to a baking sheet. Broil until crusty on top and golden in spots, about 15 minutes per side.
To serve, top two grits squares with a generous helping of beans and finish with okra. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.