Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Product Review: Blue Runner Jambalaya Base


During my last excursion down to Louisiana, I noticed that Blue Runner (creator of the oh-so-yummy “this can’t possibly be from a can” canned ready-to-serve Red Beans & Navy Beans) now offer sauce bases for making jambalaya, shrimp creole, gumbo, & etouffee.


It’s a rather large can & was at Dorignac’s in Metairie for $3, so I said “why not” and snagged it along with my other Louisiana contraband (seriously, I hope there’s no law against smuggling foods across state lines.  I weigh my bags before I leave my house to make sure I’m at least 10-15 lbs under the bag weight limit, since I always know I’m coming back with a stockpile of my favorites):

image (Ignore that Pumpkin Dunkin Donuts coffee—I could probably get that in Missouri, but I saw it on the shelf while I was picking up my Community Coffee & couldn’t resist.  Oh, and for the record, I CAN get CC’s coffee in Missouri, but it’s about $2 cheaper in Louisiana.)

So when my husband & I offered to host our weekly church group meeting at our house a couple weekends ago, I figured that would be as good a time as any to test out the jambalaya base on my guinea pigs err…friends!

The instructions were simple: Open can, pour into large pot, add 1 lb pre-cooked chicken & 1 package smoked sausage, along with 2.5 cups of uncooked rice.  Stir, bring to boil, then let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

And so we did.  I used spicy smoked sausage, and cooked up some chicken breasts (I seasoned the chicken with cajun seasoning prior to cooking), cut them up into bite size pieces, and then tossed everything in.  I was a little skeptical of the sauce base, as it had a slight vinegar-y odor and just seemed so…canned.  You know how canned soup just has a very “canned” look & taste to it?  That made me a little nervous, but fortune favors the bold, so I strode on. 

All the trinity veggies and garlic are already included in the can.  So all you have to add is the meat & rice.  (though, I had some dried green pepper I needed to use up, so I threw that in there as well—but that was more out of “spring cleaning” than necessity. There’s a good bit of veggies in the sauce.)

Then I hit another road block—brown rice.  I threw 2.5 cups of uncooked brown rice into the pot, not white rice.  I started cooking about an hour before people were scheduled to arrive, so I figured that was plenty of time to allow for the additional cook time that brown rice requires…man, was I wrong.  When people started showing up, the rice was still totally crunchy.  Thankfully, our friends are very understanding (and had brought munchies) so we hung out & snacked in the kitchen while I hovered over my stockpot, using all my kitchen wiles to force the rice to cook faster.  I turned up the heat & periodically added a little extra water, stirring every few minutes. 

After a total cook time of about 1.5 hrs, the rice was finally fully cooked & we started serving.  We had 10 people eating total, and everyone got at least one moderately sized serving.  And it was delicious.  The flavors were fantastic.  I think I added a little bit of hot sauce and some extra cajun seasoning, but aside from that, all the seasoning in the sauce was perfect on its own.  Our guests really loved it too (though only two of them aside from me had ever had authentic jambalaya—but they both said it definitely tasted like Louisianan).

image (Stock photo—I was so busy entertaining guests that I forgot to take a pic.)

So there you go.  If you happen to stumble upon a large blue can of jambalaya base from Blue Runner, it’s worth a try.  And if I would have used instant or parboiled brown rice, I’m sure it would have cooked up in the regular 20-30 minute time frame that the can recommends.


For the record, my first 2012 work trip to Louisiana is next week!  And this time, my hubby actually gets to come with me!!! (We had a free companion ticket that had to be used before May, and my boss OK’d it so long as there wasn’t any additional costs to the company.)  My hubs has only been to Louisiana once (for spring break about 10 years ago) so I’m really looking forward to him meeting my friends and trying all the fantastic food with me!

We’ll be posting restaurant reviews & photos, so keep your eyes peeled!  (Not literally.  That’s gross.)

1 comment: