Cajun prawns with chorizo, tomato, and cheesy polenta

This is an indulgent take on shrimp and grits. If you want to make it healthier, you could skip the heavy cream in the stew and the cheese in the polenta. Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi.


For the stew

  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 150 g smoked cooking chorizo, casings discarded and crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped into 1/2″ cm cubes
  • 1 green pepper, chopped into roughly 1″ cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5 t Cajun spice mix (note: if you can’t find this in a store, you can easily make it by combining paprika, dried oregano, dried chilli, thyme, and salt)
  • 400 g tin of chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ t sugar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 60 ml double cream
  • 2 T chives, roughly chopped
  • 350 g large prawns (peeled and de-veined)

For the polenta

  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 350 ml whole milk
  • 60 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 200 g quick-cook polenta
  • 120 g gruyere, roughly grated


  1. Heat 2 T of oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chorizo and paprika, and cook for about 3 minutes, until browned and beginning to crisp up.
  2. Drain the chorizo and set aside. Then return the same pan to the heat with 2 T of oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and celery, and cook until softened and lightly coloured, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add the pepper, garlic, and 1 T cajun spice, then cook for about a minute, until fragrant.
  5. Add the tomatoes, sugar, chorizo, 250ml water, 1 t salt and a good grind of pepper.
  6. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick and rich.
  7. When done, stir in the cream and chives, remove from the heat, and cover. (You can keep it warm until needed.)
  8. Pat the prawns dry, toss in a medium bowl with the remaining 2 t of Cajun spice, a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper, and set aside while you make the polenta.
  9. To cook the polenta, combine the stock, milk, butter, 200 ml water, 1 t salt and a good grind of pepper in a medium saucepan.
  10. Heat over medium-high until it comes to a gentle simmer. Then turn the heat to medium and slowly add the polenta, whisking continuously until completely mixed in.
  11. Continue whisking for about three minutes, or until the polenta is cooked but the mixture is still loose.
  12. Whisk in the gruyere and set aside.
  13. To cook the shrimp, add 1.5 t of oil to a large pan over high heat.
  14. Once smoking, add half of the prawns and cook for about three minutes, turning halfway, until browned and cooked through.
  15. Transfer the cooked prawns to the tomato sauce, then add the remaining 1.5 t of oil and repeat with the remaining prawns.
  16. Divide the polenta between four plates. Top with the prawns and tomato sauce, then sprinkle with the extra chives.

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