Dirty Rice

The first time G tried this, I asked “Do you want to know what makes the rice ‘dirty’?” The response was that he probably didn’t want to know. Growing up with creole/New Orleans food, it rarely occurred to me that something in a dish might be “weird”, now of course I often take great glee in that knowledge. While in New Orleans for the first time, G’s response to the food was: “It looks repulsive, but tastes divine” which if you’ve ever seen a “Pink Lady” sno-ball you would know where that statement came from.

What makes the rice “dirty” is chicken parts… not thighs or legs, but gizzards and livers finely diced until they “disappear” in the mix. Well made dirty rice is a classic creole dish that you probably ate at your grandmaw’s house as a kid if, like me, you grew up in New Orleans… and your grandmaw probably knew how to make it. I remember when Popeye’s was all the rage in the city during the 70’s and my grandparents complained about how nasty the dirty rice (now Cajun Rice) was… it had no flavah. If you spend the time to dice your vegetables and chicken parts fine; I promise, this will have flavah.

Dirty Rice

1 1/2 cups water
2 ounces chicken livers, trimmed
2 ounces chicken gizzards
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
1/4 cup bell pepper, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
6 cups cooked rice
1 cup minced green onion

In a saucepan combine livers, gizzards and water and bring to boil then simmer 15 minutes or until livers are no longer pink on the inside. Drain livers and gizzards in colander set over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Finely dice livers and gizzards. In large skillet cook ground meat over moderate heat until it is nicely browned. Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Cook mixture, stirring, until vegetables are softened and the onions are translucent. Add salt, black pepper, creole seasoning, and reserved cooking liquid. Simmer mixture, stirring, until liquid is reduced to about 3/4 cup. In a large pot, add cooked rice to the meat/vegetable/broth mixture, chopped livers and gizzards, and green onions. Stir over low heat until liquid is absorbed. Like most creole dishes, I think this even better the next day.

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