A couple years ago I posted about a really delicious gumbo risotto recipe that I tested out & fell in love with. This time, I decided to try it with jambalaya instead. I prefer a "cajun-style" jambalaya (read: no tomatoes) that gets most of its flavor from the roux and the meat--however, with a risotto, you're typically not making a roux beforehand. Not to fear--dry roux powder is here! I love this stuff & use it frequently--it's a pantry staple at our house, even though I have to buy it while I'm down in Louisiana. If you can find it in your supermarket, I highly recommend picking some up...if you can't put it at the top of your souvenir list next time you're near the Gulf. (Their brown gravy mix is also a staple at our house.)
You could easily make this as a chicken & sausage risotto instead, but I had shrimp onhand so that's what I went with.
SIDENOTE: In retrospect, I'm not sure why I decided to make a risotto, which requires hovering over a pot for about 30-45 minutes, while 39 weeks preggo. My feet were sore & swollen by the time we were ready to eat. The next time I make this I will definitely make sure to NOT have a bun in the oven. Risotto requires some maintenance to make sure it doesn't burn, but the end result is creamy & delicious & totally worth it. Between the Cajun seasoning & the jalapeno, ours had a perfect amount of heat for my taste, but if you prefer milder flavors, you can omit the jalapeno--or add a second one if you like it super-spicy.
INGREDIENTS: (makes 6-8 servings)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 links of andouille sausage (approx 1/4 lb each), or 4 links of Johnsonville New Orleans Andouille Style smoked sausage (this is what most folks can easily find at their grocers and I think it tastes great--and no, that's not a paid endorsement.)
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded & diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp dry roux powder
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning of your choice (you already know my personal favorite)
3 Tbsp butter (we use Smart Balance spread)
2.5 cups arborio rice
30 oz beef stock (or 4 beef bouillon cubes + 32 oz of water)- low sodium if possible
1 cup water, if needed (you can alternately use dry white wine if you like)
2 green onions, sliced, plus 1 more for garnish
1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled & tails removed
black pepper & parsley, to taste
In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once up to temp, add the sausage, vegetables, garlic, roux powder, and cajun seasoning. Once the veggies begin to soften and caramelize, add the butter and stir until melted.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the rice, stirring well. Let the rice "toast" for about 3 minutes while stirring. Now begin adding the beef broth--just enough at a time to keep the consistency somewhat liquid and stirrable. As the mixture thickens & absorbs the broth, add more. Stir frequently and repeat the addition of broth to keep it from burning--approximately 1/2 cup at a time.
When you add the last of the broth, also add the 2 green onions and the shrimp, since these require much less time to fully cook.
When you've used up the broth, taste the rice. If it's still crunchy, you can start adding some of the water and cook a little bit longer. Risotto should generally be slightly al dente like pasta, but if you overcook it it will get a bit gummy. However, much like pasta, this should be done to your taste. Now is also a good time to check for seasoning & see if you need to add pepper, additional cajun seasoning, etc.
Once the rice is done to your taste, it's ready to serve! Final consistency should hold together when scooped into a bowl and spread out slightly, but not as thick as say, mashed potatoes. Top with the remaining green onions & serve!
If you have leftovers, this will thicken in the fridge, so you'll want to add a bit of water before reheating so it's not a solid mass.
NutriFacts: (for 6 servings)