Cajun Dirty Rice

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Dirty rice is as deep in taste as it is in history and heritage. Brace yourself for this flavor explosion.  This Cajun Dirty Rice recipe will transport you down to Louisiana with one bite.

Kickin’ good! This is easy to make and it’s the real deal. Just enough heat to make it really nice.

This dish is just so delicious and comforting.

Cajun Dirty Rice in a white bowl with chopped scallions on top

HOW TO MAKE CAJUN DIRTY RICE

We love the simple ingredients that go into this classic dish.

You can never go wrong with green bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, onion, bay leaves, and lots of good Cajun spices.

Watch us show you how easy (and fun) it is to make this amazing Cajun Dirty Rice!

 

CHICKEN LIVERS ARE TRADITIONAL, BUT YOU’D NEVER KNOW IT

We love making this dish as authentic as possible, and pureed chicken livers may sound unappetizing, but they really are not a pronounced flavor at all, and actually, deepen the taste to a rich, but wonderful dish.

Also, make sure you steam your rice perfectly and don’t let it get too dried out.

Then all the other ingredients blend together to make an amazing Cajun Dirty Rice!

Authentic Cajun Dirty Rice recipe

DIRTY RICE IS A NEW ORLEANS CLASSIC DISH

The jalapeños and cayenne pepper add some heat, too, so if you prefer, you can pull back the to fit your taste preferences.

Or, on the other end of the heat perspective, you can add more of the flavor enhancers to increase its kick!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Authentic Cajun Dirty Rice recipe

This dish is also beautiful in presentation!

And serve it with your favorite hot sauce, such as Crystals, Louisiana, or Tabasco!

Dirty Rice has a long, challenging history, and comes from a dark place in the United State’s history.  But it is steeped in tradition and has found its place in culinary excellence.

Authentic Cajun Dirty Rice recipe

And since we’re talking Cajun…here’s another another classic recipe: New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Now, let’s make this Authentic Cajun Dirty Rice recipe!

A white bowl of Authentic Cajun Dirty Rice next to a beige napkin and spoon

Authentic Cajun Dirty Rice

This recipe comes from famed New Orleans chef Donald Link.  It is the real deal. 
4 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: Cajun, Dirty Rice
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 425kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chicken livers, pureed (about 4 oz)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano, dried
  • 3 cups steamed rice (recipe below)
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Steamed Rice

  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch Kosher salt

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Once hot, add the pork and chicken livers and cook, stirring, until browned.
  • Add salt, pepper, and chili powder and stir often, but not constantly: The idea is to get the meat to stick to the pan and get a little crusty.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and simmer until it has evaporated, allowing the meat mixture to get browned and crusty and stick to the pan once again.
  • Add the onion, celery, garlic, jalapeño, and oregano and cook, stirring, until the veggies are nicely browned and crusty and beginning to stick to the pan.
  • Add the rice (recipe below), the remaining 1 1/4 cups broth, the scallions, and parsley.  Stir until the liquid is absorbed and the rice I heated through. 

How to Make Perfectly Steamed Rice

  • Combine the rice, water, bay leaves, and salt in a medium pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, cool for a few minutes, and then fluff the rice with a fork. 

Nutrition

Calories: 425kcal
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15 Comments

  • That’s a mouth full but since you are a chef, especially a true cajun chef, you failed to give us all your true dirty rice recipe. We are all waiting with baited breath to find out the true recipe. Please let us in on the magic. I’m standing by my large skillet with anticipation.

  • 4 stars
    Mr. Rance spoke to the truth
    I grew up poor and humble in Lafayette, LA
    He knows true Cajun vs Creole
    Since both have become “popular” there have been many people confusing the two as one and the same.

    Read the review from Mr. Rance.
    I could not write it better or more truthful
    FYI also love Crystal’s hot sauce. Just being honest

  • 3 stars
    If ya’ll knew a thing about “authentic Cajun food” then you would NEVER say that it would “transport you to New Orleans”.  Right there, in your opening paragraph, you blew up any credibility that you may have had going in, based on your title.

    No offense intended, but one would think that two fine, clearly educated gentlemen such as yourselves would not be so quick to delve into the arena of labels and erroneous stereotypes.   As a Cajun, born and raised in the bayou, who spent 22 years living and working as a chef in New Orleans, I find it personally and professionally offensive when the lines between Cajun and Creole are blurred and muddled in such a fashion.   Why?   Because it leads to things like New England and Midwestern restaurants throwing a bunch of hot sauce or cayenne pepper into a chicken or fish dish and calling it “Cajun”!!!

    Cajuns are from the area in and around the Atchafalaya Basin, to the west of Baton Rougr – NOT new Orleans!  You’d have been better off saying Lafayette or Breaux Bridge.  Lake Charles wouldn’t have even been too far off.   Even Baton Rouge has a larger Cajun presence than New Orleans since it’s roughly halfway between Lafayette and New Orleans (thanks to the political corruption that has, to this day, prevented the construction of Interstate 49 between Lafayette and New Orleans and making it the only incomplete part of the Interstate Highway System ordered and funded by Eisenhower), and therefore one must drive AROUND the Atchafalaya Basin rather than over/through it.

    But the absolutely closest you will ever come to New Orleans and find actual Cajun people would be Houma/Thibodaux.

    Don’t get me wrong.   I’m not saying that you can’t find authentic Cajun food in NOLA. You can, if you look for it. Cajun food, along with Parisienne French, Spanish, Native American, West African, Caribbean, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, etc., was an influence on Creole cuisine.  But the food synonymous with the Crescent City is Creole, not Cajun.

    Both cuisines are heavily French influenced, but Cajun food is more French-Canadian (after all, the first “Cajuns” were displaced “Acadians” from Nova Scotia who refused to swear fealty to the British Crown after the Seven Years/French & Indian War – in fact, the name “Cajun” comes from the way the Houma Indians pronounced “Acadians” when referring to them, and the Acadians just accepted and adopted it because the Houma welcomed them, taught them the ways of the land [much as the Wompanoag did for the Pilgrims] and were their allies against the Red Stick Confederacy), while Creole cuisine is very much directly influenced by Parisienne French cuisine.   The Acadians were descendants of French settlers from Occitania (rural areas of Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine) and were very much unlike Parisiennes.

    Cajun food is rustic, simple, country food made by poor people who mostly used the barter system for the things they needed.  Cajuns hunt, fish, forage and operate small farms with sandy and acidic clay soil, situated between bayous, rivers, ponds, lakes and other wetlands. Often just long, narrow strips of skid ground.  Cajun cuisine consists of a lot of one-pot dishes that are full of vegetables, so as to make a small amount of meat go much further at the dinner table.  

    Creole food, conversely, is the more refined, more robust, more cosmopolitan and by far wealthier food of the City of New Orleans, and is very meat-forward by comparison.  Creole food is that way because it can be that way. New Orleans sits at the mouth of the largest river in North America, was once one of the wealthiest cities in America, and is situated on of the largest ports on the planet.

    And Cajun food is not spicy!  God I despise that misconception (as most people who’s culture is being destroyed and misappropriated do at times).  Cajun food may use some spice, but it’s always muted to let the flavors of the pristine ingredients come through.  In short, spice is used to season food in Cajun culture, not to flavor it.  That’s why Creole cuisine is ridiculously spicy by comparison.

    The simple fact that you have a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce in the photograph with your plate of Dirty Rice proves my point for me.  The Crystal Preserve Company, who’s original factory sat on the New Orleans/Metairie line and their iconic billboard still basically marks the point at which New Orleans’ Tulane Avenue becomes Jefferson Parish’s Airline Highway, is Creole, not Cajun.  Real Cajun people use Tabasco Sauce, which is made in Avery Island!

    I prefer Crystal to Tabasco myself, if I’m being honest, but it’s a matter of principle!  Besides, my all-time favorite hot sauce is Trappey’s Bull.  That being did, Crystal’s Garlic Hot Sauce is amazing!

    Some ingredients that are commonplace in Creole cuisine, but are hardly ever found in real Cajun cuisine, are things like tomatoes, tomato-based products (like tomato paste), carrots, okra, butter,  (or any dairy that doesn’t come from a sheep or a goat), potatoee, etc. 

    In Cajun cuisine, vegetable oil is used, not butter.  Butter is a luxury afforded by the New Orleans Farmer’s Market, as most of it comes from the dairy farms on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain (formerly Covington/Mandeville, but these days Folsom/Franklinton).

    Also, why are you using chili powder in your Dirty Rice?   No Cajun would ever do that.   They would use fresh thyme and marjoram/oregano, dried cumin and paprika and freshly minced garlic and onion (but those onions are more likely to be bunching scallions, shallots or leeks – especially the latter, because leeks grow very well in sandy soil). They can grow small Spanish/yellow onions as well.

    • Sorry for my many, many typos. My new phone and I are not getting along. I need to start using a notes app to write these things. I assume you understood my meaning though.

      • Rance, THANK YOU for sharing these truths with the people. There are way too many people touting knowledge on cuisines they don’t know the history of.

        And, dirty rice should be made with day old rice or you will have a bowl of mush!

        Also, as soon as I saw chili powder, I knew this recipe was a HARD PASS.

    • Wow…thanks for the food history! I guess with my hillbilly roots, it’s no surprise that I love Cajun vs. Creole! I make a low fat version of gumbo (1/2 cup flour is toasted in the oven at 400 deg F for 20-40 minutes, stirring every 6 minutes for the roux). There is a slight mouth feel difference, but no difference in flavor! I did want it a bit thicker so I stirred in 1/4 cup of cornstarch. Yummy.

    • Hi Jason, you can absolutely omit them. They add some depth of flavor and texture, but the dish is still wonderful without them. Let us know if you make it and what you think! Best, Kris & Wesley

    • You. CAN omit the livers, but it won’t be dirty rice if you do. The liver is what makes the rice “dirty”. But if you’ve ever had dirty rice, even just at Popeyes Chicken, then you know it doesn’t taste of liver.

  • 5 stars
    We’re northerners so we’re no experts but we loved this dish! It was delicious. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  • Hi Kris:
    After talking with you last night Danielle got onto your site and posted your Cajun Shrimp & Dirty Rice Recipe. It looks delicious and I know Danielle will be making
    both of them VERY soon!

  • Made this last night with prawns and kielbasa, because that’s what I had on hand. The best dirty rice recipe I’ve tried so far. It was also a big hit with my southern husband. Thanks again!

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