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Matt and Ted Lee, James Beard Award-winning chefs from South Carolina, recently released The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (high up on our list of spring cookbooks to look out for). Inside is a wealth of classic homestyle and elevated Southern food we couldn't wait to sink our teeth into. First up, a Lowcountry staple: beefy okra soup.

Matt and Ted Lee, James Beard Award-winning chefs from South Carolina, recently released The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (high up on our list of spring cookbooks to look out for). Inside is a wealth of classic homestyle and elevated Southern food we couldn’t wait to sink our teeth into. First up, a Lowcountry staple: beefy okra soup.

Okra soup is resolutely old school. It shows up on the menus in the tea rooms that open every spring in church parish halls in the Lowcountry, and is often paired with a pimento cheese sandwich. It’s a deeply flavored, tomato-based, meaty soup that always has as its foundation a delicious beef bone. Pork, although much beloved in Charleston, is rarely found in conjunction with okra; this preference for beef with okra is seldom articulated, yet innate to the culture, etched into the kitchen practice of Charleston home cooks over the last couple of centuries.

We’ve asked hundreds of cooks about this pairing, but no one can explain why it is so. Our best hunch is it’s aesthetic — simply that the flavors pair well together. In our version of this soup, we use a sliced beef shank, so that every portion has a few morsels of meat in it. Choose a shank with a generous plug of marrow, which dissolves into the soup, giving it an even more silky texture and beefy flavor.

Reprinted with permission from The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen