As many versions of dirty rice dressing exist in the southern United States as there are cooks. Each recipe features its own secret ingredient. However, the one unwavering aspect is the way the finished product looks. Whether ground beef or pork and/or chicken livers and gizzards or all are used, a dirty appearance is the final outcome; thus, the name dirty rice. During the holidays, rice dressing is usually served in addition to the cornbread dressing or stuffing (depending on whether it’s cooked in or outside the turkey), and both share the giblet gravy. Most southern cooks use a heavy-hand when it comes to adding cayenne pepper. Many uninitiated guests have left the dinner table perspiring profusely. The following recipe is a newer, shortened version of the lengthy, old-time favorite.
Spicy Cajun Dirty Rice Dressing
½ pound of chicken livers
2½ cups of water (or the amount called for on the jambalaya rice package)
½ teaspoon salt
1 bag of jambalaya rice mix (Louisiana or Mahatma)
½ pound of hot breakfast sausage (sautéed)
½ cup cubed, smoked sausage (sauté with breakfast sausage)
½ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
¼ cup celery, chopped
½ cup green onion tops, chopped
½ cup medium size green bell pepper, chopped
1½ teaspoon of poultry seasoning
Cayenne pepper and salt to taste
1. Remove all membrane and connective tissue from the livers to get rid of any bitterness left from the gall bladder. Bring chicken livers to a boil in the water, skim off foam. Add poultry seasoning and salt. Lower heat and simmer approximately two minutes or until the inside of the livers are no longer pink. Do not overcook.
2. Set aside and let cool in broth.
3. Chop vegetables, set aside. Save green onions for later.
4. Fry hot breakfast sausage and smoked sausage. Keep breakfast sausage in pea size pieces.
5. Add onion (not green onions), garlic, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes.
6. Chop livers then combine all ingredients, including broth in 3½ quart saucepan (add more water if broth is less than 2½ cups or that required on the package) and cook approximately 15 minutes.
7. Stir in green onion tops. Cook until rice is done. Add more boiling water, if needed. Cajun dirty rice a good any time complement to fried or roasted chicken, turkey, beef, and pork.