Prawn Jambalaya

This Cajun dish is perfect if you want to impress dinner guests but don't want to spend a ton of money. Make your prawn work double duty: use the shells to make a broth that enhances the flavour of the dish.

  • Preparation Time30 mins
  • Cooking Time70 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
1 pound shell-on prawns
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 onion, 1 half left intact, the other chopped
3 celery stalks, 1 cut into large chunks and 2 chopped
5 garlic cloves, 3 crushed and 2 chopped
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bunch spring onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
2 links (about 5 1/2 ounces) andouille sausage, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup long-grain rice
One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Large pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Louisiana-style hot sauce, for serving

1. Make the prawn broth: Remove the shells and tails from the prawns and put the shells and tails in a medium saucepan. Clean and devein the prawns and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Add the peppercorns, the intact onion piece, large celery chunks, 3 crushed garlic cloves and 2 bay leaves to the saucepan and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to a high simmer and then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook until the water has reduced by about a third, 20 to 30 minutes. Let the broth cool completely and then strain (you should have about 3 cups. If you have less than 3 cups, add enough water to make up the difference).

3. Make the jambalaya: Heat the oil in a large 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour and use a whisk to constantly stir until the mixture is toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the green pepper, spring onion whites, andouille, tomato paste, the chopped onion, celery and garlic, the remaining 2 bay leaves and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes (add splashes of prawn broth or water if the mixture sticks at all). Add the rice and stir to coat.

4. Pour in the remaining broth, crushed tomatoes, thyme, cayenne, half the spring onion greens and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the prawns, cover and continue to cook until the rice is tender and the prawns are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove the bay leaves.

5. Sprinkle the top of the jambalaya with the parsley and remaining spring onion greens. Serve with hot sauce.

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