2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-size chunks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 jar pickled okra spears
Peanut oil, for frying
20 pods of medium-sized whole okra
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pork Rib Fricassée
Cut the pork rib rack in half and season with Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper and set aside to come to room temperature.
In a large French copper pot or cast-iron pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the pork pieces one at a time and brown on both sides and remove.
Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fresh rosemary. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until the flour turns a light brown. Add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pot scraping up any browned bits. Continue cooking until the wine reduces by half.
Lower the heat to low, add the tasso and smoked sausage along with the pork rib pieces and pour in the chicken stock. Decrease the heat to simmer, cover the pot and continue cooking for 1 hour.
Raise the lid and check to see that the pork is becoming tender and the stew is thickening. If it becomes too thick add more stock or water. Add the potatoes along with a tablespoon of butter and cook 30 minutes more covered. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
In a deep-sided skillet half filled with peanut oil, preheat over medium heat to 375ºF.
Rinse the okra and place on paper towels to dry. With a knife, remove the stem cap and slice the remaining okra into small round slices about the size of your thumb tip. Place the cut okra in a bowl and set aside.
In a mixing bowl add the cornmeal, flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, and black pepper and combine. Add the cut okra into the mixture and coat the pieces evenly.
Place a wire rack over a tray and pour the okra out, shaking to let the excess coating drop through to the tray. Add the okra pieces to the peanut oil a handful at a time and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels and salt immediately.
For serving, move the pot with the pork rib fricassée to the table and serve family style garnishing with pickled okra spears, fried okra and sliced, toasted baguette for soaking up the gravy.
Pure and simple, a fricassée is a stew. Cooking long and slow is the key, and a large heavy pot with an equally heavy lid is crucial. This is a hearty, cold weather meal. Crack open a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or an ice-cold Louisiana beer.