Not-So-Dirty Dirty Rice

So apparently it’s State Pride week at Our Best Bites. We totally plan these things from time to time. Go, Idaho! Go, Louisiana! Just kidding. It’s just a funny coincidence. And Mardi Gras.

I am not kidding when I tell you that my kids are just about as excited for Mardi Gras as they are for Christmas. Parades, candy, music, screaming like idiots for beads and plastic cups. If I’m being completely honest with myself, it’s a pretty awesome holiday–it involves lots of yummy food, fun, great music, and very little effort or preparation on my part.

One of my favorite Louisiana foods is Dirty Rice. Now…this recipe comes with a big disclaimer. Dirty Rice is traditionally made with chicken livers and gizzards. I don’t care how good they make your food taste, I cannot cook with them. I can’t knowingly eat them. I know fabulous cooks who most likely use them, but I don’t ask. I know all that stuff (and more) probably goes into sausage, but I don’t know know (and I don’t ask). So, in case you haven’t guessed, I’m not using tiny organ meats in my dirty rice, and no, the color isn’t quite “dirty” enough, but if it really bothers you, you could use soy sauce. But I’m pretty sure that too-light, gizzard-free dirty rice is still more “genuine” than dirty rice with soy sauce. Or you could just be brave and use the livers and gizzards, but I’m not gonna tell you how to cook ’em. If you leave me a comment or send me an email about how this is not dirty rice and I am an abomination and an embarrassment to the State of Louisiana, I will say something rude back. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I have a cold, pregnancy hormones flowing throw my veins, and I just discovered that the “water” that’s been standing in my driveway for the past two weeks was not a) a yard drainage problem or b) a water leak, but c) my sewer line leaking onto the most high-traffic part of my property. All of these things have contributed to the temporary disappearance of the filter between my brain and my mouth.

For this rice, which you can serve as a side dish or a main dish, you’ll need 1/2-3/4 pound of pork sausage (you can use mild or spicy, but I’d rather use mild and then be able to control the heat myself), chopped onions, garlic, green peppers, and celery, Cajun or Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s), black pepper, Tabasco sauce (yeah, dirty rice can range anywhere from having a little bite to being spicy spicy spicy), beef broth, long-grain white rice, and kosher salt to taste. If you want, you can also garnish it with chopped green onions.

In a large skillet over medium heat, begin browning the sausage. When it’s about halfway cooked, add the chopped onions, peppers, celery, and garlic.

Saute until the sausage is cooked and the veggies are tender. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the black pepper, Tabasco, and Cajun seasoning and stir to combine. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender (it could take up to 45 minutes at high elevations). Remove from heat and allow to stand covered for 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and toss with green onions if you feel the urge.

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If you’re looking for other Louisiana-ish recipes to help celebrate Mardi Gras, try…

Red Beans & Rice
King Cake

Also, if you haven’t checked out our Wall Written giveaway, head over there and enter!


  1. Hey if you want this darker there is something called “kitchen bouquet” is it just a browning sauce. I use it to trick people when my gumbo roux doesn’t darken enough (because I am scared my gumbo will taste too rouxish), but I don’t realize that the roux isn’t dark enough until it’s too late. A little goes a long way of this stuff and from what I can tell, it doesn’t add flavor or anything. Btw way I vividly remember the day I found out what was actually in dirty rice. I was in the grocery with my mom around thanksgiving and she had all these parts in her cart, I was like whoa what are those for? Still ate it though and it’s still yummy, however I’m not cooking with them! This sounds like a nice alternative to the box I used to make.

  2. Kate, I am so sorry about your driveway liquid issue. I just love you both that it makes me sad when regular life stuff happens to you guys too. Thanks for not cooking with organs, yuck. Even though I went to culinary school, I still pretend not to know what offal is…my motto is, offal is awful!!

  3. Ahh! I have a sewage leak in my house too! We found it on Valentine’s Day after dinner. My kitchen is broken right now, and it’s no fun. We are probably going to have to fix all the sewage pipes in our home eventually. I’m also pregnant, so the hormones just are going crazy and I woke up really frustrated this morning. I hope you get that fixed soon, and I’m glad there’s somebody else going through something similar—even though it’s not fun and not cheap to fix! Now I’ll go back and read more about the rice! Thanks for sharing life stories, and recipe stories, I love your blog!

  4. I am totally with you on the whole “tiny organ meat” thing. Growing up my mom would put the turkey ones in her stuffing on Thanksgiving…I have had a problem with stuffing ever since. This grossness free version of dirty rice looks delicious, we will be eating this very soon at my house. Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. I’m totaly with you on moms’ turkey & chiken stuffing. I still can’t eat any stuffing to this day even thou it is not made with those “tiny organ meats”.

  5. Don’t laugh,….but um, what should I serve this with? It sounds really good, & we’re trying to eat more rice. ILm just drawing a total blank about what it might go with……

    1. Not laughing at all! 🙂 You could serve it as a main dish with a green salad and fruit or veggies, or you could serve it alongside pork chops or something along those lines. 🙂

      1. I like to make stuffed bell peppers with dirty rice (I cheat though and use Zatarain’s 😉 but maybe I’ll have to give this a whirl!)

  6. I’m sorry but I’m LOL over here. A few months back I hosted a Cajun themed dinner party and made the dirty rice with the tiny organ parts and everyone raved about it 😉 I didn’t say a word…

    1. LOL away–I know I’m being silly here! 🙂 And I know I’ve had dirty rice with tiny organ meats in it and it is GOOD, but I didn’t KNOW know. And I didn’t see them or cook them, so I just feigned ignorance.

  7. My family lived in New Orleans for 12 years (I was away at college/mission/grad school for most of it) and my sister LOVES dirty rice but the way she described it always sounded nasty to me so I don’t think I’ve ever actually tried it but this sounds delicious. We always try to celebrate mardi gras a little bit and maybe this will make an appearance on our table this Tuesday. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. But it doesn’t have gizzards and livers in it!!! 😉 *ducks*

    oh dear Kate, I am SOOOOO kidding! I hate them too! Yuck!

    This looks delicious and I may have to try and make it. Gizzard and liver free of course.

    Thanks for the giggle!

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