Why is it that so much great food comes out of Louisiana? Case in point, this “dirty” rice. It’s a Cajun classic, and so good that the first time you eat it you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life. It’s basically a rice pilaf that is called “dirty” because it’s cooked with minced chicken livers or gizzards, which infuse it with crispy, tasty browned bits. If you aren’t a liver lover, don’t worry, the rice doesn’t taste like liver, the addition just deepens the overall flavor of the rice, and the bits are so small you can’t really distinguish them.
Dirty Rice Recipe
Use green bell peppers if you want a relatively mild result. If you are looking for something spicier, use jalapeño chili peppers.
- 1 1/2 cup long-grain rice (Carolina, basmati, jasmine, etc)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup chicken livers
- 3 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper or 1-3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
- 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
- 2 green onions, chopped
1 Cook the rice according to the package instructions, but use chicken broth for one third of the cooking liquid. So, for example, if the package says to use 3 cups of water for 1 1/2 cups of rice, use 2 cups of water and 1 cup of chicken broth. Once the rice has finished cooking, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Turn the rice out onto a sheet pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it. Mix to combine and let cool.
2 While the rice is cooking, mash and finely chop the chicken livers, or purée briefly in a blender. In a large pan that can eventually hold the rice plus everything else, put 1 tablespoon of oil plus the bacon in and cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is crispy.
3 Add the ground pork and increase the heat to high. Allow the meat to brown before stirring. As soon as the pork starts to brown, add the final tablespoon of oil and add the celery, jalapeños, and onions. Brown them all over medium-high heat. You may notice the bottom of the pan getting crusty. Keep it from burning by lowering the heat if needed. Add the minced liver and cook for a few minutes more.
4 Add the remaining cup of chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the Cajun seasoning and turn the heat to high. Boil away most of the chicken stock and then add the cooked rice. Toss to combine.
5 Turn off the heat and add the green onions. Toss once more to combine and serve hot.
Yield: Serves 4.