Vegetable Spotlight: Okra

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Okra

(Source from Natalie Maynor via Flickr)

Today we are putting the spotlight on a classic southern vegetable, the okra! According to NC State Extension, Okra belongs to the Mallow family, which makes it related to cotton and hibiscus. It is also sometimes called “gumbo” a word also used for a stew-like dish where okra is commonly used in. From the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Okra has many nutritional benefits. It’s a great source of Vitamin K, which is beneficial for clotting of the blood. Other important nutrients that are prevalent in okra include, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium. To store okra, keep them in their produce bag in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Okra can rapidly deteriorate, so use it within the short timeframe. Because of their slimy texture when cooked, some find it difficult to eat okra. However, there many different ways you can enjoy them like sautéed or steamed. One way is to try them in this delicious and hardy recipe for Chicken and Shrimp Stew, provided by the San Francisco Human Services Agency. Try this recipe at home below!

Chicken and Shrimp Stew

Ingredients

1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
1 cup Onion, finely chopped
Garlic cloves, finely chopped
Boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup Okra, ends trimmed, rinsed, and cut into 1⁄2-inch thick slices (may substitute for 1 cup frozen okra)
¾ cup Corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup Bell pepper, chopped
(14.5-oz.) can No-salt added diced tomatoes
1 cup Low-sodium chicken broth
 Bay leaf
 2¼ teaspoons Soulful Seasoning (3 tablespoons Onion powder, 4 tablespoons Garlic powder, 1 tablespoon Ground red pepper, 1 tablespoon Chili powder, 1 tablespoon Paprika, 1 teaspoon Ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons Ground thyme)
⅛ teaspoon Hot pepper sauce
 ¾ pound Uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
 ½ cup Cooked brown rice
 Lemon slices (optional)

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken; cook and stir for 7 to 10 minutes or until chicken begins to brown. Add okra, corn, and bell pepper; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf, Soulful Seasoning, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cook, uncovered, and stirring for 2 minutes more. Add in shrimp and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until shrimp turns pink. Stir in rice. Remove from heat.
  3. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until rice is hot. Remove bay leaf.
  4. Serve immediately, with lemon slices, if desired.

References:

“Okra” – The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

“Okra” – Publications, NC State Extension

“Chicken and Shrimp Stew” – Eatfresh.org, San Francisco Human Services Agency