Sam Lynah's okra soup

Sam Lynah's okra soup

Sam Lynah has been making this okra soup since the 1950s, when her childhood household had an annual okra surplus. Typically, Lynah says, her mother used it for gumbo.

“Gumbo is always great, but I liked beef and V8,” she says. “The first time mom made the okra soup, I was in love.”

For this recipe, Lynah used London broil, but she says a variety of beef cuts work. Just adjust the salt and simmer time, she advises.

Sam Lynah’s Okra Soup


1 1/2 pounds of lean beef, cubed

3 cups water

5 cups okra, cut up

White vinegar

I large onion, diced

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cups V8 Spicy Hot Vegetable Juice, or comparable brand

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Beef broth

1 tablespoon file powder


Brown beef in a soup pot set over medium heat. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer for 1-3 hours, or until meat is very tender.

While beef is nearing the end of its simmer, put okra in a bowl. Add white vinegar to cover. Let okra stand for 1 hour, then drain and rinse with cold water. Add okra to the pot.

Saute onion in a pan. Add cooked onion, salt, pepper and V8 to the pot. Simmer for 1 hour. Add garlic powder and beef broth for desired thickness. When heated through, remove soup from heat and stir in file powder. Adjust seasoning before serving over rice.

Editor’s note: Sam Lynah's okra soup is one of four competing in The Post and Courier food section’s recipe contest for a category crown. Over the course of a year, the newspaper will publish four reader-supplied recipes for each of 12 iconic Lowcountry dishes.

Featured recipes have been lightly edited to conform with the newspaper’s style, but they have not been tested: It’s up to readers to choose a winner. To weigh in on the okra soup race, join us at

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Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.