I am a native Texan, born into a multi-ethnic family in San Antonio and come by my love for cooking Tex Mex foods naturally. My first thoughts for dinner almost always involve something from my childhood: tacos, chalupas, enchiladas, flour tortillas. When I was 8 years old, my father’s job with the FAA moved us to Louisiana, where I promptly embraced Cajun and Creole foods in addition to my beloved beans, barbacoa and carne guisada. One of my comfort foods is Dirty Rice, that ubiquitous side dish found on every good Southern cook’s table. I use Emeril Lagasse’s recipe, as it is the closest to authentic as I’ve found. Yes, chicken livers feel yucky when you work with them, but they are essential to the dish, so put your squeamishness to the side and dive on in to what will surely become a requested food in your home. The livers impart an essential flavor to the rice, and gives it the “dirty” look that inspired its name. Dirty Rice is an excellent side dish for any type of grilled chicken or meat, and I often make Maque Choux to pair with it.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound chicken livers, chopped fine
- 1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Emerilís Original Essence
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cups cooked rice, chilled
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
In a large, heavy sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken livers and sausage and cook, stirring, until the meat is browned, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, Essence, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir thoroughly. Cook until the rice is heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley and serve.