Southern Staple: Try this stewed okra and tomatoes dish for a comfort food fix

This Southern dish from a Food Network winning-contestant is the perfect comfort food fix.

Does it get any more southern than stewed okra and tomatoes? The Southern culinary classic has strong roots in Louisiana cooking.

Chef Chris Hayes shares his warm and soulful comfort food — Southern fried catfish with stewed okra and tomatoes.

Fans of Food Network might recognize this Louisiana chef. Chef Chris Hayes was the winning contestant on an episode the popular Food Network show “Cooks vs. Cons” in 2017.

Hayes’ recipes have also been featured in Louisiana Cooking Magazine and Road Tours Magazine. His catering business, The Smoking Oyster, brings delicious Louisiana seafood throughout the Southern region.

Hayes says he just enjoys cooking, regardless of it’s for just one person or a large group. He says southern staple reminds him of when he was young and cooking brought together family and friends.

Southern Fried Catfish with Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

Ingredients for seafood breading:

  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup creole seasoning (like Slap ya Mama)
  • 1 lb. catfish filet or whole catfish (your preference)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine corn flour, cornmeal and creole seasoning. Next, heat canola oil to 350 degrees. While your oil is heating, season catfish with lemon pepper and dredge in seafood breading. Drop your fish into grease to fry for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from grease and let drain.

Ingredients for stewed okra and tomatoes:

  • 2 lbs. fresh okra chopped
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 oz. fresh thyme chopped
  • 3 oz. fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 oz. crystal hot sauce
  • 3 oz. diced onion
  • 3 oz. chipped celery
  • 3 oz. diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

First, hand crush your tomatoes, and add them to a large sauce pot. Next, add all other ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. After you simmer, transfer the mixture to an aluminum pan and wrap tightly with foil. Place your aluminum pan into a smoker, and let the okra and tomatoes smoke for 30 minutes. Remove from smoker. Smother over white rice. Place your catfish on top and enjoy.

For more information about The Smoking Oyster or to contact for catering services, visit their Facebook page or Instagram page.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Chris Hayes

Created in partnership with The Smoking Oyster