Mention the food in New Orleans and sure enough, everyone’s going to talk about Gumbo and Jambalaya and they should, they’re both great dishes but then there’s one of the good ol’ standards that’s oh so easy and soulful and it’s just damn delicious–Dirty Rice. When you’ve got leftovers of the stuff, just heat it up the next day by frying it with some oil in the pan and then throw a fried egg on top. Now get into the Mardis Gras spirit and whip up a pot of this Cajun classic.
In my version of the recipe, I omit chicken liver and cook a package of chicken thighs rather than the whole chicken called for in other recipes. Why? It’s easier than boiling a whole chicken and the thighs are way juicier than chicken breast. If you’re really in a rush, you can go ahead and buy a ready-cooked rotisserie chicken, just go with one that has little to no spice so you can spice it up on your own. If you love chicken livers, by all means, fry them up! And it goes without saying (doesn’t it) if you’re sensitive to spice, go easy on the red stuff, use only one half of what I’m calling for in the recipe.
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 white or brown onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, deveined, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper (ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups high quality long-grain rice
- 3 cups chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 6-pack chicken thighs, skin-on or off (or store-bought rotisserie chicken)
- 3 Andouille sausage (medium or spicy)
- 4 green onions (diced) or 5 sprigs flat leaf parsley, rinsed and plucked for garnish
Rinse chicken thighs in cold running water and place in a pot (preferably enameled) with a tight fitting lid. Add salt, black pepper, red pepper and 1 bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil uncovered, then cover and reduce to simmer for 1 hour. Once done, remove from heat.
Chop sausage at a slight diagonal and sauté with peanut oil, celery, bell pepper and onion until cooked (about five minutes. Onions should be nearly translucent. Add garlic and dried oregano at the end.
Strain the broth from the chicken. You should get 3-4 cups of great broth. Skim off the fat.
Debone and remove skin from the chicken thighs. Chop into square, bite sized pieces.
Take the same large pot you used to boil the chicken, empty it out and add back 4 cups of the chicken broth, the chicken, sausage and onion mixture, rice and all the remaining spices (paprika, cayenne, soy sauce, bay leaf). Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to medium low (flame wick will be about 3 centimeters long). Cook for 20 minutes, stirring twice from top to bottom. Once cooked, move the pot off to a cool burner and let rest for 10 minutes with the lid on.
Plate and sprinkle with scallions or fresh flat-leaf parsley if desired. Dirty Rice is great with ale beer, Beaujolais or a sweeter, fruity NOT oakey white wine.