Heat oil in a sauté pan. Fry okra in hot oil (add vinegar to cut sliminess). Transfer okra to a bowl; set aside.
Make a roux in the sauté pan with the bacon drippings and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is a dark brown color. Add onion and sauté until lightly browned. Add celery, garlic, bell pepper, bay leaves, and thyme; mix well. Stir in okra and tomatoes. Add a little water if necessary to make a gravy. Add sugar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper; cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
Recipe compliments of Poppy Tooker
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.