My love affair with rice began with that first spoonful of rice cereal. From that point on, I was smitten. Rice and gravy? Yes, please. Gumbo with or without rice? With! Fried rice on the side? Most definitely. So versatile and accomodating, taking on any flavor and any role thrown at it, rice willingly participates. Spicy, creamy, sweet, fluffy – rice can do it!
My favorite of all, boring as it may seem, is dirty rice. No real reason, except for the fact that I love the flavor combination more than other rice dishes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’ll turn down a plate of jambalaya, because I won’t, but if you made me choose between the jambalaya and the dirty rice, dirty rice is going to be the winner.
My recipe is adapted from Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu. The original recipe called for one pound of boiled and ground chicken gizzards, but I increased the gound beef and pork sausage to 1 1/2 pounds each. If I made this only for myself, I wouldn’t tweak it at all, but I’m cooking for my husband and son, who are both, um, how shall I put it? “Selective eaters” Sounds better than picky, doesn’t it?
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds bulk pork sausage, spicy or mild
1 1/2 cups onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups chicken stock, unsalted
4-5 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1/4 cup green onion tops, sliced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and cayenne to taste
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the flour with 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, making a dark brown roux. I cook mine to the color of milk chocolate. Set saucepan aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the remaining canola oil. Add the beef and pork, browning well. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, cooking until vegetables are soft. Stir often, as you don’t want the garlic to burn.
Add the chicken stock and dried thyme to the meat and vegetable mixture, season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should be rather juicy, but not overly soupy.
Stir in the cooked rice, onion tops and parsley. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and cayenne as needed.
Serve as entree or as a side dish. We love it alongside chicken.