As the seasons change and the temperatures get cooler and cooler, a bowl of okra always helps pass the good times. Okra is probably the most popular dish in Cajun cuisine. Although the ingredients vary from bowl to bowl, okra is as iconic to Louisiana as chili is is East Texas.
In the world of okra, there are two different varieties: Creole and Cajun, which many believe to be like day and night. Creole-style okra usually contains tomatoes and okra, unlike Cajun okra. The Cajun style is more prevalent in Lafayette (aka Acadiana / Cajun country) and surrounding areas, while the Creole style is more popular in New Orleans. Whatever style you prefer, traditional okra contains either seafood or chicken and sausage. But, nowadays, you can also find more creative types of okra, like smoked rabbit, smoked duck, and for the veg crowd there’s gumbo z’herbes, which is loaded with an assortment of green vegetables such as cabbage, mustard or turnip. greens, spinach, chard and kale.
October 12 is National Okra Day, and to celebrate another important food festival, here are a few places in North Texas to find your solution:
Nate’s Seafood & Steakhouse has served authentic Cajun cuisine in Addison since 1988. The owner, Nathan Peck, is a Cajun, and he offers four types of okra. Their seafood okra is a traditional Cajun with shrimp and crabmeat compared to Creole okra which also contains shrimp and crabmeat but in a thick tomato and okra base. Okra with Chicken and Sausage contains meat and tender boneless sausages. And finally, their okra combination is a mix of shrimp, crabmeat, chicken and sausage on a tomato okra roux.
TO Southern Root Table, Chef Tiffany Derry serves My Mother’s Gumbo, which features chicken, Zummo’s andouille sausage, shrimp and blue crab (pictured above). The roux is not as dark and thick as what you often find in local restaurants, which is a nod to a good okra. It features several large shrimp, chunks of sausage, and a real crab cluster where, if you’re up to spending the time cracking the shell, you’ll find deliciously sweet chunks of crab meat hidden in the shell.
For those who live in Southern Oklahoma (i.e. anywhere north of the Sam Rayburn Toll Freeway), Bourre de Bongo Palace Fine Cajun cuisine in Celina is a wild, New Orleans-inspired and absolutely cool place to have a bowl of authentic Cajun okra. It’s loaded with andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp and okra in a dark roux.
TJ Seafood Market Andouille Seafood Okra has a rich, dark, seafood-based roux loaded with okra and andouille and several large fresh shrimp. It’s a bit thicker than some of the other okra we’ve had, but we loved that it’s loaded with andouille and okra, and they actually contain shrimp big enough that they have to be cut into. two to eat them properly.
At the heart of Deep Ellum, you can grab a nice cup or bowl of okra at The free man while listening to great live music. Their okra is also loaded with chicken, sausage, and shrimp. The nice twist is that they put a little blackened seasoning on the shrimp and sautÃ© them before placing them in the okra. Lots of other places just toss the raw shrimp in the roux and cook them in there, and it can end up a bit soggy and bland. It is served with a small sweet cornbread muffin which is perfect for dipping in roux.
Bucky Moonshine’s Southern Eats and Bar, also at Deep Ellum, has both chicken, sausage, and okra with seafood. They don’t mix the two like other places. Their seafood okra has crab, shrimp, and chopped oysters, which always adds a little extra to okra. It’s well seasoned and loaded with lots of meat or seafood.
Seafood and Rex Market Also has a seafood okra. The flavors of a good seafood okra are there, but it doesn’t have the big chunks of seafood you’d expect to see. Maybe we visited on a day off.
Tasty tails in Addison has more of a New Orleans Creole style chicken and sausage okra. Unlike the Cajun style, they add tomatoes to it which is awesome. They also offer lobster okra.
And tucked away in a strip center in Lewisville, Bayou market is a dive serving fantastic chicken, sausage and seafood okra. There are probably no more than eight tables inside, and it’s kind of a counter ordering place. The great thing about Bayou Market is that you can also buy some great prepackaged Cajun food to cook at home, such as their okra, crayfish stews, meat pies, and crayfish pies.
Charlie’s Creole cuisine (formerly the original Dodie’s) at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Richmond Avenue has been serving authentic Creole cuisine since 1989. Their Chicken and Sausage Okra has a lighter roux than what you would typically find in Louisiana, but it is well seasoned and has a great flavor without the need to add hot sauce.