Arborio rice, jumbo shrimp, fresh smoked pork sausage from a good friend, garden fresh veggies, and our Cajun seasoning bring this dish together. It’s a little pilaf, a little paella, and a lot of delicious!
You do not want to cook the rice fully. It will finish cooking in the oven during the final process. I used arborio rice, but you can use basmati or jasmine. Just do not use instant rice.
After frying bacon what do you with the fat? If you like to cook you know the last thing you do is throw it out. If you have veggies to sauté, using bacon fat adds another layer of complexity to the recipe. For this recipe we heated a couple of tablespoons in a cast iron skillet to brown the sausage.
Set the sausage aside once browned but save the fats. Use the same hot skillet to sauté sweet onion, bell peppers, poblanos, and garlic allowing the veggies to soak up all the flavors in the fat.
Rice and shrimp are the perfect dishes to add a variety of complementary spices. We added bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. But the star was the addition of our Cajun Seasoning. I chose to sprinkle some over the veggies using a light hand. Our Cajun can pack a punch. Always start slow and easy when adding a spicy hot seasoning. You can always add more, but if you add too much you lose the other flavors in the dish.
Shrimp and Sausage Pilau
- 5 cups water, divided
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 1/2 pound fresh smoked pork sausage
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 large poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon our Cajun seasoning
- 1 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled deveined
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups salted water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered, and let sit until ready to use.
- In a large cast iron or heavy skillet melt the bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Add sausage, cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage saving the drippings.
- Stir the onion, peppers, and garlic to the hot skillet. Season with salt to taste and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, oregano, parsley, and Cajun season. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minutes.
- Add the whole tomatoes one at a time crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you add. Pour in the remaining tomato juice in the can and 1 cup of water bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reduces slightly, about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add in the rice, shrimp, and sausage stirring to combine.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 18 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Discard bay leaves.