Dirty Rice is a famous dish in Creole and Cajun cuisines. White rice gets a “dirty” color from bits of meat and a generous dose of seasonings.
It’s a super delicious recipe that’s packed with flavor. And although it’s usually served as a side dish, we love it as a main.
This one pot meal only takes about half an hour, so in no time you can bring these Louisiana flavors into your kitchen…
In case you haven’t noticed, we love Cajun and Creole food here at GypsyPlate. From famous dishes like Shrimp Creole to those rarely heard of outside of New Orleans, like Grillades and Grits, we’re always trying new dishes from the region.
Admittedly, some are a bit complex. But this time, we’re bringing you something that hardly takes any hands on time, and uses simple ingredients.
What is Dirty Rice?
A simple and humble rice preparation, it is basic white rice with small bits of meat and plenty of seasoning. It can have beef, pork or chicken, and very often includes finely chopped chicken livers.
Sorry, we’re a little squeamish about organ meat, so will be omitting the livers. But if you want to add some, go for it!
As with all Louisiana style savory dishes, it features onion, bell peppers and celery.
The earliest versions of dirty rice seem to have originated in Southern Louisiana in the 1700’s and would fall under the soul food category.
It was later adopted by the Acadian Cajun immigrants, though it is now common in both Cajun and Creole cuisine, and has become popular all throughout the South. It is often called “Cajun rice,” or “rice dressing”.
Ground Beef – This can certainly be substituted, as there’s not really a standard meat for dirty rice. Ground pork, finely chopped chicken thighs, andouille sausage and the aforementioned chicken livers can all find their way into dirty rice.
“Holy Trinity” – Onions, celery and bell peppers. These form the foundation of Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Seasonings – Creole or Cajun seasoning, garlic and bay leaves.
Rice – We are using basmati, as we love the way it cooks up perfectly every time.
Creole Seasoning vs Cajun Seasoning
Although dirty rice is often called “Cajun rice”, it also finds its way into Creole cuisine. Therefore, either seasoning will make great dirty rice. If using store bought seasoning, keep in mind that Creole has a more complex herb profile, while Cajun is spicier.
We recommend making your own, as it is more customizable and doesn’t have the excess sodium found in many store bought seasonings. It only takes five minutes to whip up a batch of my Homemade Creole Seasoning.
How to Make Dirty Rice
This one is pretty simple…
Start by chopping your veggies and finely chopping the garlic.
Brown up the meat, then add veggies, garlic and seasoning. Cook till veggies start to soften.
Stir in beef broth, rice and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook till the rice is cooked. That’s it, your dirty rice is ready to serve!
Vegetarian Dirty Rice
You can easily make this Cajun rice dish vegetarian. Simply replace the meat with chopped mushrooms. Sauté them along with the other veggies, then use vegetable stock in place of the beef broth.
What to Serve with Dirty Rice
If you want to serve dirty rice as a side, here are some mains it would go great with:
- Blackened Salmon
- Garlic Parmesan Wings
- Southern Braised Chicken
- Smothered Chicken
- Garlic Butter Steak Bites
- Pork Loin Pinwheels
Leftover dirty rice stores extremely well. You can refrigerate it in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
You can also freeze it for up to three months. First, cool it completely. Then, store in freezer bags, making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
You can reheat it either in the microwave or on the stovetop. You may wish to add a little extra water while reheating.
So, are you ready to bring these Louisiana flavors to your own kitchen? Now that we’ve cooked our own, we’ll be making it again and again. When you try it, please leave a comment and star rating, I love to hear from you.
And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up tasty new recipes for you! Until next time…
Dirty Rice, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1 lb ground beef (see note 1)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning (see note 2)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1.5 cup white rice, uncooked (see note 3)
- 3.5 cups beef broth
- Brown ground beef in a pot or large skillet over medium high heat, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook until there is no more pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add in onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic and Creole seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring until veggies start to soften.
- Stir in broth and deglaze the pan. Add rice and bay leaves, and mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered about 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked.
- Ground beef can be substituted with ground pork, chopped chicken, chicken livers, andouille sausage, or a combination. Just use a total of one pound of whatever you are using.
- You can use Cajun seasoning, but we prefer to use our customizable homemade Creole Seasoning.
- Basmati rice works great here, and is our go to rice. It is mush easier to work with than conventional long grain, and always seems to end up perfectly cooked.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 425Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 101mgSodium 1720mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 36g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Never miss a recipe!
Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.