How come dirty can be so tasty?
Today we are going to make one of the easy one-pot comfort food to us – Dirty rice. WHAT? dirty?! yes, dirty rice sounds really so interesting, why name it dirty? Is it dirty? The answer is actually simple than you thought. when the white rice which gets a “dirty” color from being cooked with small pieces of beef, pork, chicken, green bell pepper, onion, celery and spiced with cayenne. Dirty rice is most common in the Creole regions of southern Louisiana; however, it can also be found in other areas of the American South and referenced as Chicken & Rice or Rice Dressing.
I made this dish so many time because we really love it so much, however, I thought it was “from Cajun” for so long until now I learned the real background story.
How about we learn a little history together? there are two words we may remember- Cajun and Creole.
Creole is the name for ethnic groups which originated from linguistic, cultural and racial mixing between colonial-era emigrants from Europe with non-European peoples mainly black. In America, it applies to people who were born to settlers in French colonial Louisiana, specifically in New Orleans. A style of cooking it is mostly associated with in Louisiana, and the blend of the French, Spanish, and West African cuisines.
Our other key term, Cajuns, refers to a different ethnic group, essentially French Canadians, living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, who were descendants of Acadian exiles — Acadia or (L’Acadie), is what we now call Eastern Canada. The term Cajun is a funny derivation from the pronunciation of “le Cadiens” (the ones from Arcadia)
Cajun and Creole label have been mistaken to be the same, but the origins of Creole cooking began in New Orleans, while Cajun cooking came 40 years after the establishment of New Orleans, down south on the bayou.
Today, basically, Cajun food is what we associate with down south rural Louisiana while Creole food is urban.
Culinarily, the typical difference people mention is Creole having a traditionally larger number of ingredients and adding tomato, while Cajun keeps a more spartan nature sticking closer to the “holy trinity” of ingredients used in both cuisines (onions, bell peppers, and celery), without tomato.
Another difference usually cited is the roux making, Cajun roux use oil and flour cooked for a long time in a heavy pot. Creole roux, on the other hand, uses butter as its foundation and is only cooked long enough to achieve a light color.
In practice, however, the two cuisines are too closely related and their dialogue has been going on for too long to have any real hard and fast rules about what is authentic in one side or the other. Modern Cajun+Creole is a great example of “better than authentic.”
Serves 5-8 people, approximately cooking time: 1 hour
- ⅛ stick of butter
- 1 big brown onion, diced
- ½ green bell pepper
- ½ yellow,1/2 red bell pepper,(or use one bell pepper or any color combination you like)
- 1 pound of ground beef meat (also can use pork or chicken, chicken gizzards)
- 2 chorizos or sausages you like, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 8 green onion stalks
- ½ pound / 250g white mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped ( can be replaced with 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder)
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ cup white rice
- ¼ ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ ground paprika
- some salt and fresh ground black pepper
step1. Heat the butter until it melts, cook ground beef or meat of your choice into an at least 4-quart saucepan (I use a Lodge 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven) cooking with small to medium heat until it gets brown but not too dark, add about ½ salt stir it a while then scoop it up. In the same pot, put the sliced sausages you like (we prefer Colombian chorizo!), cook about 5 mins until it looks well-done. scoop it and put aside.
step2. In the meantime, dice the brown onion, celery. In the same pot, scoop away some oil and leave only about 1 tablespoon, cook the diced onions until onion getting soft and transparent. Then put in the chopped garlic and celery, stir it and add ½ teaspoon salt. then put cooked ground beef and sausages into the pot. Stir it and cook about 3 mins.
step3. Put the white rice and chicken stock into the pot, add ground cayenne pepper and paprika. stir it all together then turn the heat to high, boil the stock. Then turn the heat down to slim, adding the sliced white mushrooms, chopped green bell pepper, yellow and red bell pepper, mix it well, put the lid on and cook for 25 mins.
step 4. open the lid and add some chopped green onion, adding some fresh ground black pepper. stir it well and cook about 3 min. taste and adjust the seasoning.
Then you are ready to serve! garnish with the left chopped green onions on top. Enjoy it!
Have a nice Easter weekend,