01 November, 2012

Creole Shrimp Risotto

'Restaurant quality'

'One of the best things you've ever made.'

These are the Boyfriend's quotes.  Personally, I think this is THE BEST thing I've ever made.  It is just another level of deliciousness.

Need to impress someone?  
This is is.  I'm telling you.

It's warm and creamy, has great depth.
The risotto is kicked up with a little creole seasoning, cooled down with the tomato herb sauce...  
There's just no other words.  

Now I'll be honest, you're going to need to set aside some time to chop all these veggies.  This recipe takes time.  Good things come to those who wait. 

I beg you.  Take the time to make chicken stock. Your dish will be so much more flavorful.
Make a huge amount, and freeze some.  I pour extra stock into tupperware containers and freeze, and I also pour into ice cube trays.  It's super convenient to pop a couple out of the ice cube tray for a recipe.

Creole Shrimp Risotto
You will need:

20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
1 large red pepper or 2 small, seeded and finally chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno Chile, finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried Turkish bay leaves (you can use any bay leaf)
3 whole springs fresh parsley
3 tbsp creole seasoning, purchased or homemade
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup chicken stock, or low sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
zest and juice of 1/3 of a lemon
3 scallions, thinly sliced
About 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Make shrimp stock.  In a medium saucepan, combine shrimp shells with enough water to cover.  Place over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer 25 minutes, skimming foam off the top occasionally.  Pour stock through a fine mesh sieve (or line a regular strainer with a cheesecloth), strain, and set aside.

2. Make tomato herb sauce. Heat a bit of oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat.  Add the red pepper, half of the onion, half of the celery, half of the carrots, half garlic, the jalapeno, orange zest, 3 sprigs thyme, a bay leaf, 1 1/2 springs parsley, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Saute about 10 minutes, or until very tender. Add half of the tomatoes and 1 cup of wine.  Simmer a couple minutes to let it be absorbed a bit.  Add the shrimp stock and enough water to cover the vegetables.  Simmer 20 minutes.  Remove parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.  Puree in a blender, working in batches if necessary.

3. Get the chicken stock ready. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan.  Cover, and keep warm over low heat.

4. Make the risotto. heat a drizzle of olive oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add remaining onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, 1 tbsp creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the arborio rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is fully coated with olive oil (1-2 minutes). Add remaining wine and cook, stirring often,  until wine is almost completely absorbed (4-5 minutes). Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed (~10 minutes).  This step is important- to cook arborio rice correctly, you must add the chicken stock in small increments.  Once absorbed, add another 1/2 cup, waiting for that to be absorbed, and continue this process until rice is creamy looking but still al dente, about 30-40 minutes. You may have leftover stock.  Remove the thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, and stir in the butter, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.

5. Make the shrimp. Sprinkle shrimp with a little salt and pepper and remaining creole seasoning. Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan.  Add shrimp and saute until pink, about 2-3 minutes.

6. Assemble. Mound risotto in the center of 4 bowls. Top each with 5 shrimp, and spoon the tomato herb sauce around the dish. Garnish with scallions, and Enjoy!

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