Toast the almonds over medium heat and set aside. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan and saute' the shallots over medium heat until translucent. Slowly stir in the flour making sure no lumps remain.
Cook for two to three minutes. Slowly add one cup of chicken stock and stir over heat. As it thickens, add the second cup of stock while stirring. Add ½ cup and stir. It should have a smooth, soupy consistency. Add the cajun pepper and salt and pepper to taste. (Remember, you can always add salt at
the table, so do not over-salt.) This roux will take 5 to 7 minutes to make.
Place the rice, chicken, broccoli and cheese in a large bowl. Pour the shallot roux over the dish. With a large spoon, carefully mix to make sure all ingredients are well coated and fully incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a large greased casserole dish and spread out evenly. Place the dish into the oven, which has been preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or so, or until you see slight bubbling around
the edges. Serve with crusty bread.
Dave Lobeck, of Sellersburg, Ind., is a financial adviser, barbecue chef and Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. He writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQMyWay.com.