Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tomato Love: Jambalaya with Barley

Seems the craving for jambalaya has been going around. Sass & Veracity just posted a mighty fine jambalaya with andouille, shrimp, and chicken... Andrea posted another. And those aren't the only ones. Do a blog search and you're sure to come up with plenty of great recipes for this Louisiana staple.

Maybe it's the time of the year.
Maybe the cold weather brings out the desire for something pungent, spicy, and filling.
Or maybe, as in our case, we've just got some nice canned tomatoes to put to good use.

Jay over at Red Gold Tomatoes was nice enough to send us a sampler pack of tomatoes to try out in preparation for the Great Burp! Tomato Giveaway (don't forget to enter to win before January 26th). This sampler pack is just a taste of what three lucky winners will have delivered to their doorstep, but it gave us some pretty lovely goods to work with.
Our sampler contained a can of diced tomatoes; two cans of petite diced tomatoes; a can of petite diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano; a can of petite diced tomatoes with green chiles; and a can of diced tomatoes with roasted garlic & onion. Seriously. We couldn't wait to put these beauties to good use.

Fortunately, the freezer and pantry both came to our rescue. We had some fantastic roasted turkey in the freezer.
And we also had a package of chicken andouille sausages...
... and a pound of lovely pink shrimp... all the fixin's for a nice, hot pot of jambalaya...
So, I grabbed a few of our favorite vegetables out of the fridge,
and sauteed them up with a few carefully selected spices, some canned tomatoes, and a few cups of chicken stock...

And before I knew it, I had a tantalizing batch of jambalaya steaming over the stove.

A few things, for starters:
  1. Jambalayas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes -- brown creole jambalaya, red jambalaya, saucy jambalaya, and dry jambalaya. This one just so happens to be a red cajun-style jambalaya with plenty of rich, red sauce.
  2. This jambalaya can be made just as mild... or as spicy as you like. We're a couple of chile heads, but you don't need to feel compelled to follow our lead. In fact, we encourage creativity when it comes to cooking, so feel free to do as you please.
  3. Jambalaya normally makes use of some nice converted rice. We happen to prefer something a bit more out of the ordinary... some nice, whole grain barley.
You'd be amazed by the character that barley brings to this classic cajun dish. For one, it's got a great nutty flavor.

For another, barley offers an incredible nutritional profile. It knocks other grains off the charts with its fiber content. Just one cup of barley offers you over 50% of your daily fiber intake. It also covers at least half of your recommended daily intake of selenium (a nice immune system booster during the cold & flu season), and is a decent source of phosphorus, copper and manganese. If you're really interested, you can geek out on the profile here.

We love the chewiness of a bit of whole grain in our jambalaya... and we just adore how the barley soaks up all the incredible flavors of the tomatoes and spices. But, don't say we didn't warn you. It also contains a healthy dose of tryptophan. So, prepare for a nap after this warm, snuggle-inducing dish.

Gotta have some? ... We thought so!

Burp! Jambalaya with Barley

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  1. Your jambalaya looks amazing! I bought a big bag of barley that I've been trying to work my way through, will have to give this a try. Have you tried farro? It's similar to barley, but I think I like the flavor even better.

  2. HOLY COW! Or should I say tomato! This looks seriously good. Love all the photos showing the ingredients (how lucky/smart are you to have that stuff!), and that ending photo is just terrific. I've only had jambalaya with rice, but I like barley so that's noooo problemo! It's nice to know that this is good for me, too. YUM!

  3. Love it...looks great! I love the barley. I bet it would be great with any grain. Im loving Kamut right now.

  4. I never would have thought to use barely. Great idea!

    And I think it's just wonderful what a good canned tomato can do to lift winter spirits.

  5. How intriguing... Never had it!

    Is the right time to eat something for the first time when you've made it yourself? Hmmm...

    Maybe I should see...

  6. I love barley and know it would be perfect in jambalaya. You're making me wonder about quinoa, too. Both are definitely more healthy than white rice! I'm wishing I had a plate of that jambalaya right now...

  7. The restaurant I work at just served a vegetarain jambalaya as the soup of the day - I was so stoked! A veggie option, AND it's jambalaya?? Saints be praised! The offering was met by a lot of upturned noses from the clientele... turns out a spicy, tomato-y pot of veggies is not an easy sell in New England. Sigh...

    Oh well. I'll definitely be making doing a barley version at home now!

  8. I am TOTALLY stoked about veggie jambalaya. In fact, I think this recipe could be easily converted with a few tweaks... a few planks of smoked tofu and some beans and I'd be ALL over it!

    Might even have to try that for next time!

  9. That barely is such a clever idea. You put together a very creative dish. I'm impressed. I"m also drooling on that andouille. I love that stuff!

  10. That looks so good! I love putting barley in anything!

  11. Looks great! My twin boys are all over anything with shrimp! I know my children wouldn't have a problem with the barley as I make a beef and barley stew in the slow cooker that they eat up. They think it's rice but always say that the "rice" looks like oatmeal. LOL! Thanks for passing along all the info.

  12. It's so rich and hearty looking. That's a rockin' good dish! I absolutely love it.

  13. My last jambalaya was a disaster. Hmmm. But at least I've got my entry ready for Tomato Love: Spicy Manhattan Cockle Chowder--just to mess with the butter and cream chowder partisans.

  14. Oooh...I LOVE jambalaya! You're right, it's just the time of year for it too. The barley is such a creative addition! I will openly admit that I'm going to steal that from you in the near future.

  15. Very clever...barley in a jambalaya....a healthy alternative.

  16. Just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration and the awesome recipe. I've had a hankering for jambalaya for many months now after eating a disappointingly mild batch of my mom's (bless her heart . . she tries, at least) awhile back.

    I followed your recipe with the addition of SEVERAL jalapenos and a poblano, to give it some extra heat. For the grains, while barley sounded awesome, I decided to use whatever was in my pantry which turned out to be Basmati. Seemed like a strange combo but it was delicious.

    Needless to say, my friends devoured it and now there aren't any leftovers. After finding you guys through, I'm hooked and check back frequently. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

  17. stone crab - Wow.

    I just commented to Peef that feedback like this is EXACTLY the reason why I keep blogging. Will have to thank Cathy for sending you our way!

    So glad you enjoyed the jambalaya. Like you, we were always a bit disappointed with jambalaya that fell short with heat... glad we could give you what you were looking for! Love the addition of the poblano & jalapenos!


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