At Home with Ben
Mark Roper

I cooked this recipe for a bunch of friends in Mudjimba, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, just after New Year’s Eve. A Creole version of paella, it’s a great dish to impress your guests – serve it on a large dish in the centre of the table, washed down with cold beer and good wine! The key to this dish is the Cajun spice mix.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
200g spicy chorizo sausage, thickly sliced
6-8 chicken drumsticks, skin off
250g raw king prawns, peeled and deveined, heads and shells reserved
1 large onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 sprigs thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
250g long-grain rice
3 cups Basic chicken stock
1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
freshly ground black pepper
3-4 medium male blue swimmer crabs, cooked, halved and cleaned
18-24 mussels, cleaned and debearded
6-8 oysters
2 spring onions, finely sliced, to serve
1 long green chilli, chopped, to serve
2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or electric frying pan and cook the chorizo and chicken over medium–high heat until the chicken is golden and the chorizo is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil in the pan.
  2. Reduce the heat to low–medium. Fry the prawn heads and shells for 5 minutes, squashing them with a potato masher to extract their flavour. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard. Add the onion, capsicum and celery and sauté until soft. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, stock, chicken and chorizo to the pan, then season with the Cajun spice, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Fold the crab halves into the rice. Push the mussels into the rice and place the oysters on top. Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  5. Stir the rice to loosen it and serve the dish sprinkled with the spring onions, chopped chilli and lime wedges.
At Home with Ben
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