Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jambalaya Risotto

Mardi Gras is upon us!  For me, it's mainly an excuse to make gumbo, king cake, or another New Orleans specialty  This year, I thought I'd try making a jambalaya-flavored risotto.  Fragrant with bell peppers, celery, and onion (the cajun variation on mirepoix), spices, chicken, and smoky sausage, it's a satisfying one-skillet meal.  A side note:  A lot of recipes also call for shrimp or crawfish, but I kept this recipe simple.

Happy Mardi Gras!!

Jambalaya Risotto
Feeds 6-8
Click here for printable recipe

2 T. vegetable oil
3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
10 oz.  andouille sausage, or other good smoked sausage, quartered and sliced
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 c. diced red bell pepper (1 med/large pepper)
1 c. diced green bell pepper (1 med/large pepper)
2/3 c. diced celery (about 3 stalks)
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 scallions, finely sliced
2 T. butter, divided
1 1/2 c. arborio rice
2 T. sweet paprika
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1 can tomatoes with chiles (e.g. Rotel)
4 - 5 c. chicken stock
Salt & Pepper

In a large high-walled skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.  Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.  Add in sausage and cook until starting to brown and some of the fat is rendered out.  Remove the sausage and keep it with the chicken.

Add the onion, bell peppers, celery, and garlic, along with a pinch each of salt and pepper, to the skillet.  Cook until just translucent, and then transfer from the skillet into a bowl or plate.  

Add 1 T. butter to the skillet.  When foaming, add the arborio rice and cook until it smells like it's beginning to toast and is barely turning light golden.  Add 1 c. of the chicken stock and lower heat to medium low.  Stir in paprika and cayenne, along with a small dash of salt.  Stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time and stirring continuously until the rice is almost cooked through and mixture has a creamy consistency.

Add the can of tomatoes and chiles along with its juices, along with the onion/bell pepper/celery mixture, and chicken and sausage.  Continue cooking over medium heat until rice is tender with just a bit of bite left to it.  Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 T. butter and scallions.  Once butter has melted, serve immediately.

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