Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Risotto Style Jambalaya... Or Maybe Jambalaya Style Rosotto?

Disclaimer: If you hold either Risotto or Jambalaya sacred, if you get mad if someone puts in things that "don't belong" or makes it the "wrong way," you probably shouldn't read this.  I am sure it is not quite right to be called either Jambalaya or Risotto, but it was damn good so I don't care!

The Winter Farmers' market was closed this week for Easter, which sucks.  On the other hand, the tulips about to bloom in my front yard tell me that spring has finally almost arrived in Wisconsin!  This means one thing to me: Spring Cleaning!  But not in terms of my house... that seems like WAY too much work.  It's time for spring cleaning of the freezer.  I am a big fan of freezing as much produce as I can in the fall... mostly because I am terrified of canning.  I have this fear that I am going to give everyone I know botulism.  It's not a rational fear, because I am very careful in the kitchen, but I've never done a lot of canning because of it.  It is a fear that I plan on getting over very quickly this year.
Anyway, I still have a lot of frozen peppers in my fridge, as well as a lot of frozen spicy shrimp stock.  The veggies are local.  The shrimp stock... who knows.  The shrimp certainly weren't local, but I made it myself so that should count for something.  Jambalaya seemed like a great recipe to get rid of a good chunk of that.  Plus, my mom gave me a bag of frozen tomatoes from her garden last year!

I put celery root in because I have it.  While I don't usually like celery in Jambalaya, I thought the celery root was excellent.  It is one of my new favorite vegetables! 

This is one of those recipes where you should really just use whatever you have on hand.

Non Local Ingredients: Shrimp Stock (but I made it, so local there!  I know the super spicy factor is coming from habaneros from my garden), rice, wine, spices.
Risotto Style Jambalaya
  •  6-7 cups spicy shrimp stock (mine was SPICY).  If yours isn't spicy to the point of being practically inedible, you might want to add some more heat to this.  You could also use chicken or vegetable stock here if you wanted)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium celery root, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces.  
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups short grain rice (like Arborio)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups tomatoes (fresh or frozen), coarsely chopped - or used canned with juice
  • 3-4 sweet banana peppers (fresh or frozen), seeded and sliced
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I used boneless, skinless breasts, but thighs would do too.  I have also made this with leftovers from a whole roasted chicken).
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb andouille sausage, cut into bite sized pieces (I used Usinger's fully cooked andouille sausage.  If you use an uncooked sausage, you will need to adjust the recipe accordingly.)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Hot sauce if desired
In a large sauce pot, bring stock to a gentle simmer.

In a large frying pan, over medium heat, heat up olive oil.  Add onions, carrots, and celery root and saute until they start to soften, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add garlic and cook one minute more.  Add rice and stir constantly until rice is mostly translucent except for a small white dot in the center - about 3 minutes.  Add white wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is evaporated - about 5 minutes.  (This step is a lot easier to tell in a regular risotto.  In this instance, the wine doesn't cover the rice so it's hard to tell when it is all evaporated.  The best way to tell, in my opinion, is that the sound of the rice cooking will change.  Do not let the rice cook dry.  It is better to add stock too soon than too late.)  Add 1/4 of stock to rice and stir vigorously.  Allow to cook until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring regularly.  Again, do not allow rice to get completely dry.  Add 1/4 more of the stock, along with tomatoes.  Again, allow to cook until rice is mostly dry, stirring regularly.  Add 1/4 more of the stock (so you should now have 1/4 of the stock remaining.)  Meanwhile, cook chicken, seasoning with salt and cayenne pepper.  Once the third addition of stock is almost fully absorbed, test the rice.  It should be just al dente.  If it is still too firm, add more stock and allow to continue cooking, checking and adding stock as necessary until it is al dente.  Once the rice is al dente, remove from heat and stir vigorously for a good minute (this helps the rice get creamy.)  Add two more ladles full of stock, along with the uncooked shrimp, cooked chicken, and andouille sausage.  Allow to rest, covered, stirring occasionally, until shrimp is cooked through and sausage and chicken are hot - about 7 more minutes.  Serve with hot sauce if desired.

This is one of those dishes that is even better the second day.  I know it seems like there are a lot of directions, but it's not really a lot of work.  If you've made risotto before, it's the same process just with more stuff.  If  you've never made risotto before, trust me it's well worth it!   

1 comment:

  1. This sounds awesome Kate! I totally LOVE risotto! When I used to be a carnivore this was one of my favorite dishes. Now that I'm a veggie I often forget that I can still make something like this by using Quorn chicken and Atrisian chipotle sausage. There is currently not a veggie substitute for shrimp so I guess I'll just have to leave that out. Hmmmm, sounds like I've got some cooking to do!