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Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice

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Serves 8 to 10.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from several recipes.

Dirty rice is a Cajun specialty that is made with cooked rice and chicken pieces that are often discarded—liver and gizzards. Onions, chicken stock, sausage, and other ingredients add flavor. It gets its name from the livers, which break up and discolor the rice. I use brown rice and wild rice, which look natural in this side dish.


1½ cups (11 ounces/312g) dry white rice or
1 cup (6½ ounces/185g) brown rice and
½ cup (3 ounces/90g) wild rice
3 cups (710ml) chicken stock, preferably homemade
½ pound (227g) chicken gizzards and hearts, trimmed
½ pound (227g) chicken livers, chopped
½ pound (227g) bulk pork sausage, hot or mild
1 medium (10 to 12 ounces/283 to 340g) onion, chopped
½ cup (60g) diced celery
1/3 cup (25g) sliced green onions
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons butter
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


Start the rice cooking in the chicken stock. White rice typically cooks in 16 to 18 minutes; brown rice and wild rice cook in 30 to 40 minutes (but this can be reduced to 15 minutes in a pressure cooker). Drain the cooked rice if any liquid is present and retain the liquid.

While the rice is cooking: In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the gizzards, hearts, and livers until thoroughly cooked, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Cook the sausage meat in the skillet, breaking it up with a spatula, until thoroughly cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. If any fat gathers in the pan, drain and discard it. Transfer to the bowl of cooked chicken parts.

In the same skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onion, celery, green onions, and parsley until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking: Place the cooked meats in a food processor and pulse briefly to chop without reducing the texture to a paste. The meats should have a course texture, similar to ground beef.

Add the garlic to the skillet and cook 1 minute. Add any retained stock (if any) drained from the rice, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Simmer to reduce the liquid until nearly gone. Add the cooked rice and chopped meats. Stir to combine. Heat to serving temperature.