Warm up this fall with some delicious Cajun Dirty Rice. But before we dive into the recipe lets looks at some history behind Cajuns and how it was created.
Cajuns are a group of French settlers in southern Louisiana with a rich history and diverse culture. Today, they are mostly known and celebrated for their unique style of cooking. Cajun food is often confused with Creole cuisine, and although they share a lot of similarities, the former originated in the countryside. Creole cooking, on the other hand, was developed in New Orleans. When it comes to food of the Cajun people, it is characterized by an exciting mishmash of seafood, meat, vegetables, and a lot of spices. Gumbo is a great representation of Cajun cuisine, and so is dirty rice which is a staple in southern Louisiana.
Dirty rice is a display to the frugality and inventiveness of the earlier generations of Cajuns. Not wanting to waste any ingredients, they threw leftovers into one pot to create an economical yet delicious meal. Case in point: dirty rice is made with rice, one of the cheapest ingredients they could find, and chicken gizzards and liver. The ‘dirty’ characteristic of the meal comes from the meat, which is browned along with onions, bell peppers, and celery — a key combination of aromatics in Cajun cooking.
Today, dirty rice is no longer made with a chicken’s giblets. Instead, ground beef or pork are commonly used and a bunch of other spices are added to the dish. It is also not traditional to cook it in a pot as one can use rice cookers for their convenience. There are a wide range of Aroma rice cookers that can do a great job of cooking dirty rice to perfection. These are multi-functional and really handy in preparing a large feast without much hassle. Alternatively, dirty rice can also be cooked in the ever-popular Instant Pot. Regardless of what you have in the kitchen, dirty rice is a great meal to serve guests — it is inexpensive, filling, and has a great depth of flavor.
• 2 cups long grain white rice
• 2 tbsp canola oil or EVOO
• 450 grams ground meat (beef or pork)
• 1 large white onion, finely diced
• 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
• 2 ribs celery, finely diced
• 6 cloves garlic, finely diced
• 2.5 cups chicken stock
• 1.5 cups water
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 2 tsp paprika
• salt and pepper to taste
• 2 bay leaves (optional)
• 6 sprigs thyme (optional)
• lemon wedges (optional)
1. Using a fine mesh colander, rinse the rice under running water until the liquid runs mostly clear. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Add the ground meat to the pan and sear until brown.
3. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic using a sharp Knife. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
4. Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture to a bowl and set aside.
5. Set up your rice cooker or Instant Pot. Grease the inside with the remaining oil or a cooking spray.
6. Into the rice cooker or Instant Pot, add the rice, meat and vegetable mixture, chicken stock, water, herbs, and spices.
7. Put it on ‘cook’ and follow the cooking instructions of the rice cooker or Instant Pot.
8. Once the rice is cooked, remove the bay leaves and thyme.
9. Fluff the rice with a fork. Add your garnish. Serve and enjoy!
Any recipes you want to see next? Let us know at Ergo Chef and comment down below! We hope you enjoy this one and thanks so much to Rebecca for contributing to our new blog. You’ll see many more articles and info every month here at Ergo Chef Chop Talk blog.
written for ergochef.com
by Rebecca Jem
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