Monday, February 20, 2012

Mardi Gras Recipe: Quick And Dirty Rice

Normally, I serve my red beans with some freshly steamed rice.

Preferably Carolina Gold when I can find it or have had time to order it:  the little bit of nutty, buttery flavor is fabulous with spicy beans and the smoky hit of andouille and ham in my slow cooker red beans recipe.

But today?  I feel like mixing it up a bit.

So I'm making some dirty rice to go alongside the beans in a sort of New Orleans one-two punch of flavor.  Can you tell I'm jonesing for some Delta flavor today?

I have made dirty rice from scratch before -- the original recipe that I pulled out of the Times Picayune was from Marcelle Bienvenue, and included the traditional chicken gizzards (or livers if you can't find those). 

It's very tasty, but a lot more work than I'm willing to put into a meal today.

A couple of years ago, I came up with a quick and dirty version of this dish that is very full of flavor and takes a lot less time and effort to throw together.  Here's how I make mine these days:

Quick and Dirty Rice

1 pkg. frozen mirepoix blend (celery, carrots and onions diced)
1 c. diced green bell peppers (fresh or frozen are fine)
1 c. diced yellow onion (again, frozen is fine if you don't have fresh)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 to 3 andouille sausages, cut into small dice (almost minced, you want it to be very small bits)
1 pkg. Zatarains dirty rice mix
Bay leaf
Tony Cachere's salt free cajun seasoning, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste

Add canola oil to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat.  Add veggies and saute until just starting to wilt.  Increase heat to high.  Add in ground beef, crumbling as you add to the pan.   Allow to brown a bit, then add in andouille sausage bits.  Fry until the beef is cooked all the way through, and you get browned bits and the veggies begin to caramelize a little, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking too much.  Add in Zatarain's dirty rice mix and water according to package directions.  Add in a bay leaf or two and some Tony Cachere's salt free seasoning blend if you like yours a little more spicy.  Simmer according to package directions until the rice is tender and the flavors have blended well together.

Serve with hot sauce on the side for folks to add to taste.  Yummy stuff.

(YouTube is Kermit Ruffins and his band performing Good Morning New Orleans.  Love it!)

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