New Orleans Dirty Rice
Updated: May 22
Add Some Creole Spice to Your Life – and Your Dinner Table – with New Orleans Dirty Rice!
Who likes rice, vegetables, and meat? Who likes one-dish mains that have all of these? Well, you’re in luck as New Orleans Dirty Rice does it all. This tasty dish combines the diverse culinary heritage of the Big Easy for something that’s much more exciting than a side of white rice. And you can feel extra fancy by making the Creole Seasoning. (Trust me, it’s easy.)
I get a lot of cooking inspiration from cooking shows on public television. They’re fun to watch, feature cuisines from around the world, and often allow you to access a written version of the recipes they perform (and you can access most of these recipes for free). No Netflix or cable subscription is necessary, which is why many of these are featured in my cooking inspiration post. (As a side note, I’m a firm believer in making cooking accessible and affordable to all, which is why I’m always finding ways to use up what I buy. You can read about how I do this with the large quantities of goat cheese and garlic I buy from Costco.)
A couple of years ago, we saw an episode of Chef Kevin Belton’s show where he made Dirty Rice. Chef Kevin is a New Orleans native and an upbeat chef who makes New Orleans cooking accessible to all. According to Wikipedia, “dirty rice is a traditional Louisiana Creole dish made from white rice which gets a ‘dirty’ color from being cooked with small pieces of pork, beef or chicken, green bell pepper, celery, and onion, and spiced with cayenne and black pepper.”
This is a tasty dish with a lot of flavor that can be served as a side – or even dish with a few modifications I’ll suggest. You can find Chef Kevin’s Dirty Rice recipe here.
To make dirty rice, you sauté a few sets of ingredients separately, and then combine them. You start by sautéing breakfast sausage, then chicken livers in the sausage drippings (trust me, chicken livers are very tasty!), and then vegetables (a blend of onion, celery, and pepper). Then you add some herbs and spices, add the meat back, add the rice, and add some chicken broth and cook. This recipe does not require fancy cooking technique, but it does make quite a few dirty dishes since you’re cooking things individually.
One of the items required in this recipe is Creole Seasoning. As a Pacific Northwest native with parents from the Midwest, I drew a blank when I saw this. Luckily, I found a good recipe from Kevin is Cooking – a different Kevin than Chef Kevin who has the Dirty Rice recipe. Here is Kevin is Cooking’s recipe for Homemade Creole Seasoning. This is really easy to make, just throw all the prescribed spices and such in your food processor, and give them a whirl. Plus, you can use Creole Seasoning in other dishes too. I enjoyed putting this seasoning on fried eggs.
To my friends and fellow food and travel aficionados in the Bikes and Butter community, I always try to test drive recipes I find and share suggested modifications. This way you’ll have more insight and ideas when you give these recipes a whirl. On that note, here are my suggestions and modifications for Chef Kevin Belton's Dirty Rice:
Garnish with red bell pepper or something red or orange for more color.
To make this a heartier main dish, increase the amount of chicken livers to 1 pound total and decrease the amount of rice by half or one cup. (The recipe calls for only half a pound of chicken livers and 2 cups of uncooked long grain rice – which is a *lot* of rice).
Instead of using a bell pepper, use a poblano pepper (which has great flavor and very little heat). If you like spicy food, add a Fresno chili or jalapeño for some additional heat. The red Fresno chili adds some color to this dish too. BTW, if you don’t do spicy food, stick with the poblano pepper.
This recipe calls for long grain rice. I did some research and both jasmine and basmati are long-grain rice. I use basmati rice since it’s more flavorful and can stand up to all the flavors in this dish.
Also, while this recipe calls for breakfast sausage (which is made with pork), you could easily substitute this for something else. Look for breakfast sausage made with chicken or turkey or even just plain ground chicken or turkey. Breakfast sausage is a much milder sausage. Using Italian sausage would overpower the other flavorings of the dish. In this case, less is more.
For dinner, we paired the Dirty Rice with sautéed leeks and kale. I recommend some sort of vegetable-heavy side dish. You could even make a quick salad.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Drop me a note in the comments if you have any questions or if you made it. Happy cooking!