jambalaya risotto on the beach
Well, Summer is coming to an end, but it was a good one. We did manage to make it to the cabin a couple times and it was glorious – the weather, the company & the food. We enjoyed a pretty spectacular stretch of nice weather and it was even hot enough for swimming…well ‘swimming’ might be a generous term here. One toe in the ocean and you’re instantly goosebumpy – that delightful temperature where you really need to be jumping in or it’s just not going to happen.
We fit in plenty of the usual cabin shenanigans (beach time, board games, cocktails) and we had a new toy to try out! Inspired by visions of a crab feast cooked right on the beach, we got ourselves a pretty awesome portable propane burner.
Unfortunately the single dungeness that we caught kinda put a damper on the crab picnic plans. So we had to settle for sunset jambalaya – life is rough. Here’s Tim with the details…
Does it get any better than cooking, eating and drinking with friends on a beach? Especially when you are eating something other than hotdogs. Enjoying wine and risotto on a beach while watching the sun go down feels pretty luxurious, but all it takes is a little planning (a portable propane burner helps too). And I think that is one of life’s little secrets – regardless of your wealth, you can create occasions where you feel like one of the luckiest people on earth. This was one of those days, and here’s the recipe.
Beach Jambalaya Risotto
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups arborio rice
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks of celery
1 cup of chicken (it can be uncooked chicken breast or leftover cooked chicken)
2 spicy sausages (chirizo or hot Italian), chopped to bit-sized pieces
1 jalepeno pepper, sliced
½ cup white wine
1 litre of chicken stock
1 can (the big can 700mL) of diced or pureed tomatoes
½ cup of BBQ Sauce (you can make your own, or use your favourite store bought)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of chili pepper
12 big prawns (we used a freshly caught crab instead)
¼ cup of parsley, chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Get yourself a nice big pot. Heat your oil over medium heat and add the rice. You are looking to toast the rice a little.
Now look, toasting your rice is supposed to add a layer of flavour. But, you need to keep in mind that I’m going to be adding BBQ sauce, paprika, chili pepper, etc. So, the subtlety of the toasted rice is probably going to be lost. Like so many things in cooking, the technique is just performed because it is the way things have always been done. However, if you are making a true risotto – toast your rice! Alright, back to cooking.
Once a little toasted, add your onions and sweat them. Get them to translucent, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add your chicken, sausages, celery, jalepeno and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Now for the risotto cooking part. This recipe is by no means classic and an Italian cook would wince at every word of this. If I wasn’t cooking on the beach, I probably would have cooked a classic risotto and then made a separate sauce. But, I didn’t have that luxury and this way is still delicious, if not authentic.
Add your wine and reduce to nothing. Add your stock to the pot 1 cup at a time. Let the entire cup reduce and then add the next. Once you are out of stock – taste a piece of rice. Hopefully it is about 75 percent cooked. If it is still really hard use a bit of water to continue to cook. It should be a little crunchy, but edible.
Add in your tomatoes, BBQ sauce, red pepper and spices and stir. This is a good time to adjust the seasoning. Add some salt and pepper to your taste. Add your prawns and stir them in. Cook until the prawns are done, about 5-7 minutes. Add most of your parsley and the butter. Stir it in. The butter adds a nice smooth mouth texture. Now serve and garnish with the remaining parsley. Enjoy!