Yield: 6 to 8 servings
large bone-in chicken thighs (about 1½ pounds), skin removed
tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
tablespoon smoked paprika
tablespoon granulated garlic
tablespoon granulated onion
teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
pound fresh okra, cut into ¼-inch pieces, tops discarded, or use frozen okra, thawed, drained and patted dry
large onion, diced (1 cup)
large bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
large celery ribs, diced (1 cup)
teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
teaspoons minced garlic
tablespoons tomato paste
teaspoon ground cayenne
teaspoon ground cumin
large ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
cups low-sodium chicken broth
large bay leaf
cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Scallions (optional), for serving
Cooked white rice (optional), for serving
Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, the paprika, granulated garlic, granulated onion, ½ teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Massage chicken with all the seasonings then let sit until room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium until hot, about 5 minutes. Place the chicken thighs into the hot oil and cover. Cook until brown on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip the chicken, cover and cook until brown on the other side, another 5 minutes. (Covering the chicken helps keep it juicy.) Remove the thighs and set aside, leaving the fat and juices in the pan.
Increase the heat to high and add the okra, the holy trinity (onion, bell pepper and celery), salt and remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper to the pan. Sauté, stirring frequently, until starting to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the tomato paste, cayenne, cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning; stir to combine.
Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth to the pan, stirring and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the mixture cooks. Add chicken, bay leaf and chopped parsley.
Stir the stew and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer, stirring constantly, to let the okra thicken the stew. Cover the pot, vented on one side, and let the stew simmer for 35 minutes, occasionally stirring, until chicken is tender enough that you can break off a piece with your spoon.
Remove chicken from pot, let it cool slightly, then cut it into thick shreds, discarding bones; add the shredded chicken back to the pot and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed; discard bay leaf. Add scallions, if you like, and serve hot, by itself or with rice.