dirty rice, a traditional dish that ( in my opinion ) is one of the most versatile dishes to make. dirty rice can be served by itself, as a side… in a taco? even better, with bacon. with chicken and bacon, andouille sausage. vegetarian with beans. dirty rice is just.. it’s everything!
i chose to serve this wonderful cajun creation as a side dish with cajun pan seared catfish, which was later baked in the oven) and shrimp topped with a creamy lemon garlic butter sauce that pushed this entire meal from “omg this is really good..” to a .. slightly different version loaded with some expletives here and there.
being that i used the dirty rice as a side, i chose to only add ground beef and italian sausage, keeping the flavors true without being too overwhelming alongside the catfish and shrimp. oh yea – isn’t it quite intriguing that original dirty rice recipes use chicken liver?
so, let me tell you a quick story about chicken livers. i don’t care for them. the end. and even though i’ve chosen to use chicken base as a substitute, which is not necessarily “chicken-liver” related, it gives an amazing flavor and that is good enough for me.
2 cups of long grain rice, cooked al dente and chilled
3 links of italian sausage, cut from casing
½ pound of lean ground beef
¼ cup of beef stock
4 stalks of green onion
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
½ yellow onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon of chicken base
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1½ teaspoons of paprika
¼ teaspoon of white pepper
salt + pepper to taste (optional)
cook your rice as instructed. once it reaches al dente, turn remove rice from the heat and allow the hot water to cook your rice through for about 5 minutes longer to cook just slightly past al dente. strain, rinse with cold water and chill/set aside.
in a bowl, mix together italian sausage, lean ground beef, oregano, thyme, paprika, white pepper and a pinch of salt. set aside.
in a non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet on medium heat, add yellow onion, green bell pepper and celery. cook down until the onions begin to caramelize. once the onions have begun to caramelize and the remainder of the vegetables have become tender add in your seasoned italian sausage and lean ground beef.
with a fork, grind your meat into smaller pieces, while continuing to fold into the vegetables until cooked thoroughly. add chopped garlic, green onion and chicken base to the meat and continue to mix. once all contents have been mixed well, add beef stock to skillet, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. let simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes. taste and add salt + pepper as necessary.
using a large (and deep) pot on low heat, add rice and meat mixture mixing well. cover with a lid and allow to steam on low temperature for about 10 minutes.
Pan Seared Catfish was seasoned as follows:
2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
each catfish fillet was coated well with the seasoning and left to stand alone for 15 minutes before searing in a non stick skillet coated with olive oil.
catfish fillets were pan seared on each side for 4 minutes then removed from the skillet and left to bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 300°.
once the catfish fillets were removed from the skillet, shrimp were cooked in the left over oil and seasonings and served on the side.