Grilled Cast Iron Seafood Stew

Soups & Stews

Recipe courtesy of Lodge Cast Iron Nation

Serves 8


For the Seafood Stew:

  • 1 recipe Slow-Cooked Onions and Tomatoes (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 pounds 16/20 count shrimp, preferably with heads on, peeled and deveined; reserve shells heads for seafood broth
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into small dice
  • 2 carrots, cut into small dice
  • 5 celery ribs, cut into small dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into medium dice
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped; reserve stems for seafood broth
  • 1 whole snapper (2 to 3 pounds), scaled, gutted, and fillets removed; reserve head and bones for seafood broth
  • 4 quarts cold water 
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 dried chiles, such as chili arbol 
  • 1 recipe Roasted Garlic and Jalapeño Aioli (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any that won’t close)
  • Wood chips, soaked 
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced 
  • Toasted slices French bread 
  • Hot sauce to taste

For the Slow-Cooked Onions and Tomatoes:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound slab bacon, cut into medium dice
  • 3 yellow onions, cut into small dice 
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into small dice
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced

For the Roasted Garlic and Jalapeño Aioli:

  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled 
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • I jalapeño chile, seeded and diced 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Grilled Cast Iron Seafood Stew

Click image to enlarge



For the Seafood Stew:

Make the Slow-Cooked Onions and Tomatoes.

While the onions and tomatoes cook, make the seafood broth. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over high heat. Add the shrimp shells, and sauté until they turn bright red and take on a toasted aroma. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomato and parsley stems, along with the fish bones and head from the snapper. Add the water, bay leaves, and dried chiles, and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 45 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer, and set aside. Discard solids.

While the broth simmers, make the Roasted Garlic and Jalapeño Aioli.

Build a charcoal fire in a grill with a lid. When the coals have burned to an even white, nestle a Lodge 9-quart cast iron Dutch oven in the embers. Transfer the Slow-Cooked Onions and Tomatoes and seafood broth to the pot, and stir in the salt, black pepper, and cayenne; let come to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cut the snapper fillets into 2-inch squares. When the mixture is simmering, add the fish to the pot, along with the shrimp and mussels. Throw some soaked wood chips (any hardwood variety is fine) on the fire, and close the lid. Cook for about 5 minutes, then stir. Continue cooking with the grill lid down until the mussels have opened and the fish and shrimp are cooked. (Discard any mussels that will not open.) Gently stir in the crabmeat, green onions, and chopped parsley. Heat thoroughly. Ladle the stew into bowls, and serve with slabs of toasted bread and the ailoli on the side for diners to drizzle over the top of their stew as they prefer. Add hot sauce as you like. 

For the Slow-Cooked Onions and Tomatoes:

Heat the oil in a Lodge 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the bacon, and render for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are very soft and a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeños, and cook very slowly over low heat until all the liquid is cooked out of the tomatoes, about another 30 minutes. The vegetables should be completely soft and cooked into a juicy paste.

For the Roasted Garlic and Jalapeño Aioli:

Heat the garlic in the oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook very slowly until the garlic is completely tender, about 30 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Strain the oil into a heatproof glass, and let cool to room temperature; set the garlic cloves aside.

When the oil has cooled, place the garlic cloves, jalapeño, lemon juice, egg yolk, salt, and pepper in a blender, and purée until smooth. With the machine running, very slowly pour the oil in a steady stream through the hole in the top of the lid. Process until the mixture thickens to a mayonnaise-like consistency.

Refrigerate, tightly covered, until ready to use. Any leftover aioli will last for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup

Shortcut Roasted Garlic and Jalapeño Aioli: Cook the garlic as directed in step 1 and strain. Reserve the oil for another use. In a blender, purée the garlic with the jalapeño, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Combine the purée with 1 cup prepared mayonnaise.

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