Sunday, April 15, 2007

It Only took 32 Years

I had dirty rice for the first time about a month or so ago. How I went 32 years without ever tasting it is beyond me, considering I love Creole/Cajun food. The version I made was thrown together from several recipes (out of a gazillion) I found on the Internet.

Dirty Rice
  • ½ to ¾ lbs chicken liver
  • 1 lbs pork sausage (not in casing)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs Creole seasoning*
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 6-8 cups cold cooked rice (preferably long grain)
  • oil for cooking
  • salt and pepper to taste
This recipe makes a lot of rice, enough for 6 adults. That means you’ll need a very large skillet. It’s probably easier to start in a skillet, then move to a large stockpot when you mix in the rice. A large Dutch oven would also work well. I used my wok, which is perfect for this kind of dish because you can toss and mix without stuff flying out of the pan.

In a large skillet (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat, add 2 tbs oil. When hot, add the livers and sauté until almost done, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Chop the livers finely and set aside again. (Alternatively, you could chop the livers before cooking, but I have had an aversion to handling raw liver since freshman biology)

To the skillet, add the sausage and cook, breaking up the clumps, until the meat is browned. Add the livers back in, along with the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaves and Creole seasonings. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and continue to cook for a couple of minutes to bring everything to the same temperature. Add the rice and mix thoroughly, breaking up the clumps. Cook until the rice is heated through. Season well with salt and pepper.

The first time I had dirty rice, it was served with a steak. I served it with Creole-spiced tilapia fillets and sautéed zucchini. I imagine it can be served with just about any meat or fish or even eaten alone.

*For the Creole seasoning, you can buy it at any grocery store in the spice isle. I make my own using Emeril’s “formulation”: 2 ½ tbs paprika, 2 tbs salt, 2 tbs garlic powder, 1 tbs each black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, and dried thyme.

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