I can’t begin to tell you what compelled me to make dirty rice for Sunday brunch and serve it with Sous Vide pork belly (recipe forthcoming). In fact, I can’t remember why I thought to make dirty rice in the first place – I’d never cooked it before, and I can’t really remember ever eating it. Which simply cannot be, but I just don’t remember.
Maybe I’m just getting old.
At any rate, I’m so glad I did – this was simply incredible. Now that I’ve made it, and know what I’ve been missing, I will make it again. And again. And again.
It is just THAT good.
Dirty Rice is a classic Cajun dish consisting of rice, the Holy Trinity of onion, celery and bell pepper, bacon and some sort of meat – either ground pork or sausage, and often including chicken livers. It can be made very spicy, or not spicy at all, whatever suits your palate.
This version isn’t spicy – the inclusion of an entire tablespoon of Cajun seasoning only gives it a bit of a tingle – but it packs a ton of flavor. What made me decide to deviate from the norm of ground pork and chicken livers was simple convenience – I’m running a bit short on pork (we’ll be sourcing this year’s hog soon), but have 12 full pounds of ground lamb in the freezer. I also would have had to thaw at least a pound of chicken livers, when I only needed half a cup, minced, but I had the liver from our lamb in there, which only ran about 6 or so ounces. It seemed like a no-brainer, and you know me – I have no problem shaking things up with a recipe.
The result? DELICIOUS. Since I can’t remember eating dirty rice in the past, I can’t tell you how different it might be from a traditional preparation, and while the lamb flavor was noticeable, it was not at all overwhelming. An impressive and easy dish – and it makes a ton. Those six servings are quite generous.
Note: The rice preparation is my go-to for rice, and you can make it with just about any amount of rice and with whatever liquid you prefer. Just keep the proportions to 1 part rice to 2 parts water – follow the directions closely and it will never fail. Who needs a rice cooker?
Click the image to enlarge
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 cup finely diced lamb liver
- 3 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 2 green onions, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine the rice and 3 cups of the chicken broth in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir the rice; cover with a clean dish towel and the lid and let it site for 10 minutes.
- Spread the rice out on a shallow-rimmed baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over it. Mix to combine and set aside.
- While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet or pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients, including the rice, over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp.
- Increase the heat to high and add the ground pork, breaking it up as it begins to brown. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, and continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the lamb is cooked through and the vegetables are soft and beginning to turn golden.
- Stir in the remaining cup of chicken stock and the diced lamb liver, stirring up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the Cajun seasoning and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until most of the chicken stock has boiled away.
- Remove from the heat and add the cooked rice. Toss to combine, and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir in the green onions and serve immediately.
- Nutrition (per serving): 570 calories, 32g total fat, 125.4mg cholesterol, 671mg sodium, 524.2mg potassium, 46.6g carbohydrates, 1.6g fiber, 3.7g sugar, 22g protein