Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cajun Shrimp Risotto

I love Creole and Cajun cuisine.  When I shared an apartment with a friend from New Iberia, Louisiana, I went home with her often to visit her family and enjoy huge holiday meals.  They also owned Savoie's Foods for a while, so I sampled every bit of their products.  These were college years when I didn't really cook, so it was much easier to just heat up easy packaged meals shipped in from my friend's mom.  Later on, my friend attended Loyola in New Orleans, so my husband and I visited her often there.  After eating at many restaurants around there, I decided that I could easily live in New Orleans for the food alone!  
Shrimp and Grits have become a popular menu item in many New Orleans style restaurants in town.  I wanted to make some at home, but I used risotto instead because I had a huge bag of Arborio rice that I wanted to use.  I also had a little saffron, so I decided to throw that in as well.  The final touch to complete the meal was smoked andouille sausage, which really added a lot of smokiness.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 32 oz. chicken broth, reduced sodium
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano - Reggiano cheese
  • 1 package of smoked andouille sausage, chopped
  • 1 lb. of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, I use Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/2 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of one lemon
Directions:
  1. Start by putting the broth into a small saucepan over medium heat to get it hot.
  2. Heat a small Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the butter, then cook the smoked sausage.  Remove the sausage after browned and set aside.  Next, add the shallots, then stir to cook for a couple of minutes.  Add more butter if needed.  Add the Arborio rice and cook an additional two more minutes.
  3. Add the wine, allowing the rice to absorb it well.  Add saffron.
  4. Add a half cup of the hot broth to the rice.  Stir until the broth is all absorbed, then continue to add a half cup of broth while stirring and stirring.  This will take about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the last amount of broth, while continuing to stir everything in the pot.
  6. Making it as thick or thin as you'd like, feel free to add more broth or water to the consistency you prefer.
  7. Make the shrimp by combining the butter, worcestershire, and lemon juice.  Pour over the shrimp and bake in a 400 degree oven 20 minutes.  
  8. Top the risotto with the shrimp and some of the sauce.
  9. Finish by adding the Parmigiano - Reggiano and green onion garnish.  Your home will smell amazing!
JUMBO GUMBO COOKOFF

I'm really excited about an upcoming event April 5th!  I've been invited to hand out a Silver Spork award at the 4th Annual Jumbo Gumbo Cookoff which benefits The Allen School.  I look forward to sampling all of the teams' entries (all 40) to determine my favorite!  Can I really do that?!  Other local food blogger friends of mine will also be there to hand out the same award.  Check out The Mighty Rib and his article about Jumbo Gumbo.  Also have a look at Arkansas Foodies who will also be there.  Buy your tickets in advance, and you can also sample some gumbo for $15 or $20 at the door.  The Little Rock River Market Pavillion is the perfect place for the event, I think.

If you love Creole & Cajun food as much as I do, you may enjoy a couple of other related recipes that I've developed below.

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