In my ongoing search for new and interesting recipes, I came across a recipe for shrimp and butternut squash risotto. This was not a combination of elements that I would have ever considered. However, we conceded that we do love butternut squash, we’re fans of shrimp–throwing them together can only produce an additive goodness effect! We weren’t sure what best to pair with it, so we decided to come up with something suitable: shrimp-stuffed chicken breasts with a brie-laden bechamel sauce.
Shrimp-stuffed chicken breasts
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 oz. small shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup milk
1-1/2 tbsp flour
1-1/2 tbsp butter
3 oz. brie, sliced
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bit of butter, sauté onions and garlic until the onions were nearly translucent. Add shrimp and cook until almost done. Remove from pan and chop shrimp. With a mallot, pound chicken breasts to an even thickness. Spread the garlic-onion-shrimp mixture over the chicken breasts and roll tightly. Place chicken rolls in a flameproof casserole and bake for 10 minutes. While baking, melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour, cook for a few minutes but without browning. Pour in the milk slowly, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. Let simmer for 5 minutes to thicken, and stir in the brie. Remove casserole from the oven and pour sauce over the chicken. Return and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until done.
Shrimp & butternut squash risotto
2 oz. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small pieces
4 oz. small shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/8 cup light cream
2-1/2 cups broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup minced onion
3/4 cup Arborio rice
Place squash in a small saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, until squash is tender when pierced. Drain and place in the container of a food processor/blender with 1/8 cup of the water in which it was cooked. Process until smooth. Set aside.
Heat butter in a casserole pan over moderate heat. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add rice and stir for 1 minute, coating all the grains. Add broth and wine in 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently, waiting until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. Add shrimp and squash after the rice has been cooking for 10 minutes. After about 18 minutes, or until rice is tender but still firm, stir in cream.
A few notes on preparation: More brie to the chicken sauce would probably be better, or a stronger tasting cheese such as gouda or even camembert.
The combination of butternut squash and shrimp, though surprising, was quite tasty–rich, nutty flavour of the butternut squash contrasted with the light, sweet and saltiness of the shrimp. Not an overpowering risotto, but it was well-balanced. The shrimp-stuffed chicken was a nice pairing for it. David noted that it would benefit from some kind of herbal element, perhaps basil.