Dirty Rice

Saturday, July 01, 2006
There are many variations of this south of the border dish. The common elements are rice and chicken giblets cooked together to make the rice look dirty. Most recipes include the signature cajun veg trio of onion, celery and green pepper; some use ground pork or sausage instead of livers and gizzards. For authenticity, flavour, and nutrient density I used the livers and gizzards even though using the same amount of plain ground pork would have been slightly cheaper. Also, I was cooking for a crowd so this recipe makes a lot. Probably I would leave out the gizzards next time; separating the edible muscular section from the rest of the organ was a bit too much work.

Simmer 1 lb chicken livers and gizzards in 1.5 l chicken stock until tender. (Can add a bay leaf if you have one handy.) Remove any scum from stock and remove meat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, dice 1 head of celery, 1 large white onion, and two large sweet peppers. Chop cooled meat into small pieces. (For the livers, using fingers to remove the large veins and crumble the meat was easiest.) Sweat the vegetables for several mintues on med heat in a large dutch oven or stock pot until tender; then add the meat and three cups of rice. Pour in the stock; cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Taste for seasoning at this point and to make sure the rice is tender; add water if it is chewy and leave on a low simmer til it has softened. I added quite a bit of salt and pepper at this point and then left it a few minutes for the flavours to blend. Mixture should stick together, like dressing, and is very good scooped up in lettuce leaves.