Dirty Rice

Side DishCajunSouthernRice

Classic Louisiana Cajun dirty rice, a rice pilaf made with the holy trinity of onions, celery, and peppers, and ground pork and chicken livers.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

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  • Yield: Serves 4

Use green bell peppers if you want a relatively mild result. If you are looking for something spicier, use jalapeño chili peppers.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup long-grain rice (Carolina, basmati, jasmine, etc)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp olive 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

Method

1 Cook the rice: 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 Mash or purée the chicken livers: While the rice is cooking, mash and finely chop the chicken livers, or purée briefly in a blender.

3 Cook the bacon until crispy: 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.

4 Brown the pork and vegetables: 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 the pork for dirty rice how to make dirty rice

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.

5 Deglaze the pan: Add the remaining cup of chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

6 Add seasonings and cooked rice: 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.

7 Turn off the heat and add the green onions. Toss once more to combine and serve hot.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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28 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Lauren

    Amazing flavor! Very simple.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Natalie

    Do you think I could use turkey liver instead of chicken liver? Trying to get creative with the turkey parts and leftovers haha :)

    I made this once without any liver and loooved it.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Lindsay Alexis

    I use this recipe as the base for my dirty rice. I use ground hot pork sausage in place of the ground meat and chicken livers. I use a whole green pepper, whole onion, 3 celery stalks (we like veggies). I also add a good amount of black beans to add some protein and round it out as a one pot meal (I add cajun spice or cumin to beans while rehydrating them) We love this and eat it almost every week.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Sean

    In our family (from Baton Rouge), a dark roux is used. If served with Thanksgiving/Christmas we call it Rice Dressing.

  • Karen

    I made this dish today and it’s sooooo good. It was easy to make and will make it again. Oh by the way I fried chicken and broccoli with this dish.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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