I'm surrounded by rice fields, which are now being turned over to crawfish ponds for the upcoming Spring.
When I tell you we eat a lot of rice, I'm not kidding.
Around here, rice is the vehicle of choice to transport dark gumbos & gravies, velvety Creole sauces, and beans & smoked sausage to eager mouths. And let's not forget jambalaya.
When I saw a recipe for Shrimp & Spinach Brown Rice Risotto in Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros, something about it made me think of jambalaya.
I forget now what that was exactly.
The tomatoey shrimp stock that starts the recipe smelled amazing.
The Husband was ready for dinner before dinner was even close.
(Oh, little did we know how very far away dinner was.)
I like a recipe with a stock built in.
Risotto is also something I like. Making risotto from brown rice intrigued me. But what was supposed to take about 50 minutes of stirring and simmering nutty brown rice in that fabulous stock, took 80. At that mark, I threw my hands up. Said some things. Pulled the plug and served. Even then, the rice was still on the hard side. Boo.
Last week, The Mom Chef featured a brown rice risotto from Cooking Light. The brown rice is par-cooked for making risotto. Coulda-shoulda-woulda!
As delicious as that stock smelled, I was shocked that the overall flavor here was so bland.
So...the first recipe from Tessa Kiros that we didn't like.
I know the clip we were going wouldn't last forever. It was surprising, though, that a shrimp & rice dish ended the streak for us.
I can tell you that I've made 2 more TK recipes (cauliflower pasta & creamy spinach w/ feta) since and we're back on track.
This is part if I Heart Cooking Clubs, cooking the recipes of Tessa Kiros. This week is all about rice.
Shrimp & Spinach Brown Rice Risotto
adapted from Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros*
3/4 lb raw shrimp
5 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
5 cups hot water
4 parsley stalks, plus about 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 slices lemon
1 large bay leaf
salt, pepper, and Tony's
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/4-1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 cups packed spinach, chopped
Peel the shrimp, reserving the shells. Leave the tails on 8 shrimp and butterfly them (for garnish). Chop the remaining shrimp. Set both aside in the fridge.
Put the shells and half the oil in a pan and cook on high for a minute, stirring, until the shells turn pink. Add half the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the tomato sauce and saute a few more minutes. Pour in the hot water and add the parsley stalks, lemon, and bay leaf. Season with salt, pepper, and Tony's. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes. Strain and keep the liquid warm over low heat.
Heat the butter and remaining oil in a shallow, wide pan over medium heat. Add the onion and the rest of the garlic. Saute until softened. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat. Cook for a few minutes then add a ladle of the broth. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Turn heat to low and add another ladle of broth, stirring until it is absorbed. Continue this method for about 40 minutes (took longer!). Add the chopped shrimp, chopped parsley, and spinach. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender, but still a bit firm in the center. If you run out of broth, hot water can be used.
Season the rice with salt, pepper, and Tony's. Also toss the whole raw shrimp with salt, pepper, and Tony's and sit them on top of the rice. Cook until the shrimp are pink. Cover and allow to sit about 8-10 minutes.
*The changes I made to the original recipe are:
3/4 lb shrimp instead of 8 shrimp
used a bay leaf in the stock
used Tony's in the stock & risotto
used onion instead of shallots