I’m a fan of testing out recipes that are break from the usual. Hybrid or fusion dishes that put a new spin on old flavors really appeal to me, so when I saw this recipe for a gumbo risotto on Pinterest, I had to try it out.
- ¼ cups olive oil, divided
- 1 cup Okra, frozen Or fresh, sliced
- ½ whole Bell Pepper, chopped
- ½ pounds Raw Shrimp, peeled & tails removed
- ⅓ pounds smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2 pieces & then cut in half
- ½ whole chopped onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- ½ teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 cup Arborio Or Risotto Rice (NOTE: my local health food market sells this in a bulk bin, so you can buy only as much as you need—check your market for similar deals!)
- ½ cups white wine Or beer
- 1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
- ½ cups Tomato Sauce Or Puree
- 5 cups Liquid (half Chicken Broth, Half Water To save $$$ And sodium)
- ½ pints Cherry Tomatoes, Quartered, Or 2 Roma Tomatoes, Diced
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- Hot Sauce, Optional
- Salt And Pepper
(Bulk bin rice—great because you can get only what you need & not have yet another random box cluttering your pantry! And cheaper than buying a full bag of rice too!)
In a large skillet (or wok) heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, and then add your okra. Saute for about 3 minutes—the okra will get a wee bit slimy & you’ll see “strings” as you stir. When it gets a bit brown, remove from the skillet & set aside in a bowl. (we do this separately so that it everything else doesn’t get slimy.)
Then add a little more olive oil, if needed, and saute the bell pepper, shrimp, and sausage until the shrimp is pink & the pepper is somewhat softened. Remove from skillet & set aside in the same bowl. (We have to cook all these pieces first, because the risotto rice takes so long to cook that everything else would be mush if you left it in.)
Now add your onions, crushed red pepper, & garlic & cook for about 3 minutes. This will be the beginnings of the base for our rice. When the garlic & onions are soft but not brown, add the dry rice & tomato sauce. Stir until rice is coated. Now add your wine or beer & stir until completely absorbed (no worries—the booze will cook out before it’s finished.)
Now would be a good time to tell you: You’re going to be stirring a LOT. So you should probably just pull a chair up to your stove. Risotto rice needs to be stirred pretty well constantly to ensure that it doesn’t burn. So just grab a book with your free hand & settle in.
(PS—please don’t judge our choice in beer—we went canoeing a couple weekends ago & therefore had “river beer” leftovers in our cooler.)
Using 2/3 cup at a time, start adding the chicken broth / water, alternating between the two. Stir the rice until all the liquid is absorbed, then add more liquid and repeat. If the pan gets too hot (the liquid boils fully), reduce the heat.
After about 25 minutes, check the rice for doneness. Continue to add liquid until the rice is tender but not mushy and does not have a crunch or stick to your teeth.
When the rice is cooked through, add the cherry tomatoes, okra, bell pepper, sausage, shrimp, butter and hot sauce. Stir for 2-3 minutes to heat through and taste for seasonings, adding more Cajun seasoning, salt, or hot sauce if you need.
Serve with a bit o’ garnish & a big spoon, and you’re ready to go!
Cook’s Notes: This recipe took a Loooooooong time to make, with all the prep and the separated cooking and the stirring, but I kid you not when I say it’s one of THE tastiest dishes I’ve had in a really long time. The rice is amazingly creamy and delicious, and captures so many of the flavors of gumbo, with a hint of tomatoey goodness (not an ingredient in standard Cajun gumbo). If it didn’t take forever to make, this might become a staple recipe in my kitchen. But I think I’ll just save it for special occasions.
Overall, a great meal—a hearty serving but only 250 calories each!
Nutrifacts: (makes 6 servings)
Total Fat 10.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 80.8 mg
Sodium 876.1 mg
Potassium 381.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 19.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Sugars 11.6 g
Protein 17.1 g