Burp! Jambalaya with Barley

If you're having a hankering for jambalaya, this Burp! version will satisfy your craving AND give you a nice serving of whole grains. Barley gives the cajun stew a pleasant toothiness and nutritional kick without sacrificing flavor. Adjust the cayenne pepper quotient to adjust the heat in this dish.

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Burp! Jambalaya with Barley
serves 8-10

3 T olive oil
1 (very) large onion, 1/2 inch dice
2 sweet red peppers, 1/2 inch dice
3 medium carrots, 1/2 inch dice
2 stalks celery, 1/2 inch dice
2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
2 14. 5 oz. cans diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves
2-3 T cajun/creole seasoning*
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T dried thyme
1 1/2 T dried oregano
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on the heat of your cajun seasoning)
salt - to taste

4 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups barley

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cooked poultry
12 oz andouille (or other smoked) sausage

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until just beginning to turn transluscent (5-6 minutes). Add carrots and celery and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add a pinch or two of salt if the pan begins to dry out during cooking. Add red pepper and stir to combine.

Clear a space in the bottom of the pot and add the tomato paste. Allow the tomato paste to cook, allowing it to "pince" (or brown) slightly. Be sure to stir often to prevent the paste from burning. When the tomato paste has darkened a bit and the vegetables are tender, add the cajun seasoning, thyme, oregano, and garlic. Stir to incorporate the spices and allow the heat to take the edge off of the garlic. Add the canned tomatoes and stock and stir to combine.

When the tomato mixture comes to a boil, taste for seasonings, adding cayenne pepper and salt as needed. When the mixture is seasoned to taste, add the barley and return the mixture to a boil. Turn down heat, cover, and cook (stirring occasionally) for about 40 minutes -- or until the barley is just chewy. Uncover the pot and check for consistency. Much of the tomato mixture should have absorbed into the barley; the remaining "sauce" will be thick and flavorful. Don't be concerned if the jambalaya seems a bit saucy; the addition of the meat will even things out.

Add the shrimp, poultry, and sausage. Cover the pan and allow the meat to cook, undisturbed for an additional 15-20 minutes (or until the shrimp is fully cooked).

Allow the cooked jambalaya to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

* We like Penzey's cajun style seasoning, which imparts a load of flavor without too much heat. Feel free to substitute your own blend, adjusting the other seasonings as needed.

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Unknown said...

This was a killer recipe. I'm a transplanted New Orleanian in SF area and this recipe was a big hit with the crew. I'd never tried using barley, but the texture, weight and flavor were a nice surprise. Admittedly, I never seem to follow recipes to the letter, but this one gave me a great jumping off point and ended with a crowd pleasing dinner for 12 hungry folk.


Lo said...

Jeff -
So glad you enjoyed the recipe! It's become a favorite at our house, and you seem to understand the reason why!