Dirty Rice

Friday, December 17, 2010

I got the urge earlier in the week to make my own version of yet another Louisiana dish, named above, and got it right on the first try. (Of course, that's relatively easy to do when you don't have seventeen different authentic versions to choose from -- or average out on a spreadsheet!)

At some point in the process, I learned a bit of trivia about Louisiana cuisine that I hadn't known before: A common combination of ingredients -- onion, celery, and bell pepper -- in that cuisine is called the "holy trinity."

As a culinary term, the holy trinity originally refers specifically to chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery, combined in a rough ratio of 1:2:3 and used as the staple base for much of the cooking in the Cajun and Louisiana Creole regional cuisines of the state of Louisiana, USA. The preparation of classic Cajun/Creole dishes such étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya all start from the base of this holy trinity. Similar combinations of vegetables are known as mirepoix in French cooking, refogado in Portuguese, soffritto in Italian, and sofrito in Spanish. [links dropped]
I don't stick to the ratio mentioned above, nor have I seen it mentioned (except in Wikipedia) or otherwise noticed it during my occasional tinkering with Louisiana cooking. All the same, I have grown to appreciate the combination, and see that it forms the backbone of a favorite cuisine of mine for a good reason.

Until I made this, I never was particularly wild about dirty rice: Other factors than just my own tastes -- I often refer to one of those "factors" here as "Mrs. Van Horn" -- caused me to consider making this. All the same, I wanted to be able to enjoy this as much as possible. My usual go-to site yielded five candidate recipes, of which I slightly modified the fourth to get the below recipe, which I like enough that I'll probably decide to make it on my own occasionally, down the road.

Bon appetit.

-- CAV


Dirty Rice

Preparation Time is about an hour.


water, 2 cups
olive oil, about 1/2 cup
rice, 1 cup
ground beef, 1 lb
ground pork sausage, 1 lb
bell pepper
celery, 3 stalks
minced garlic, 1 tbsp
Tony Chachere's, 1 tsp
pepper, 1/2 tsp
cayenne, 1/4 tsp
parsley, 1 tbsp


1. In parallel with the remaining steps, add water for rice and a dash of olive oil to small pot and set to boil. Upon boiling: add rice, stir, return to a boil, take heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes.

2. If necessary, thaw meat and sausage.

3. In parallel with the next step, chop onion, celery, and bell pepper. Place together in a large bowl.

4. In a large pot, saute ground beef and sausage in 1/4 cup olive oil until brown. Drain and set aside.

5. Add 1/4 cup olive oil to large pot and "sweat" the vegetables and garlic over medium-high heat, covered for five minutes. Stir, then cook, covered, for another five minutes. Remove from heat.

6. Once rice has finished cooking, combine it and all other ingredients in pot containing vegetables, mixing thoroughly.

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