A traditional Cajun stew would normally start with a roux (butter and flour cooked until brown), but this takes times and to be honest, who needs those extra calories? Get the prawn shells into the stock before you do any of your prep so there’s time to develop some flavour.
This recipe handles the classic flavours of the Deep South with a lighter, healthier touch.
- 300 g green prawns, peeled, shells reserved
- 375 ml (1 ½ cups) fish stock
- 150 g okra (6–8), halved lengthways
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 5 tsp Cajun seasoning
- salt and black pepper
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 150 g (1 small) desiree potato, cut into 1 cm pieces
- 1 cob corn, kernels removed
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 small green capsicum, cut into 2 cm pieces
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes with onion and garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
Place the prawn shells in a small saucepan with the fish stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until required, strain.
Combine the okra, 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a bowl. Season to taste and toss until well coated. Spread the okra in a single layer on an oven tray lined with baking paper and transfer to the oven. Roast for 20–25 minutes until golden and crisp. Turn off the heat but leave the okra inside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, potato, corn, garlic and thyme and cook for 7–8 minutes until the vegetables soften. Add the green capsicum, tomatoes and 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning and cook for 1 minute. Add the prawn infused stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until the potato is tender. Add the prawns and parsley, reduce the heat to low and cook gently, covered, for 3 minutes until the prawns are just cooked. Season to taste.
Spoon the stew into bowls, top with okra and extra parsley. Serve immediately.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Lou Fay.