Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gram’s Cajun Rice Dressing #SundaySupper

Rice dressing with pork, beef, chicken livers and gizzards, seasoned with onion, bell pepper and garlic, just like my grandmother used to make it. Some Cajun cookbooks call this “dirty rice” but in my family, we just call it dressing. 

Many years ago my cousin, Simone, put together a family cookbook of favorites and kindly made copies to share with the rest of us. When the Sunday Supper theme for today was announced – National Grandparents Day – I knew that would be the best place to start looking for one of my grandmother’s recipe that I haven’t already shared. I’ve posted quite a few because those are ones I still cook all the time but I needed fresh inspiration. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t thought about my grandmother’s dressing in quite a while but as soon as I turned to that page, I knew I couldn’t make anything else.

Rice dressing was always a favorite on both of my grandmother’s dinner tables, making an appearance quite regularly not just for Thanksgiving or Christmas but often also on Sundays. In the old days, they would grind the liver and gizzards at home in a meat grinder or asked the butcher to do it, but nowadays we use a food processor. In fact, to make it even easier, folks living in Louisiana can buy the “dressing mix” premade in every grocery store and my mom informs me that it’s even available in Houston. If you aren’t a liver lover, you can leave it out, but I’d like to reassure you that with only four whole livers in all that rice and ground meat, the flavor is very, very subtle. I think they are essential to get the right flavor.

This rice dressing makes me miss my grandmothers but it also brings back wonderful memories of them. This is the taste of home.

Ingredients
For the rice:
2 cups or 400g uncooked long-grained rice
1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

For the roux:
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon or 42g flour
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil

For the dressing:
8 chicken gizzards (about 4 oz or 115g)
4 whole chicken livers (about 4 oz or 115g)
3/4 lb or 340g ground pork
1/2 lb or 227g ground beef
1 large onion
1 small green bell pepper (capsicum)
1 small bunch green onions (plus more to garnish, if desired)
2 cloves garlic
Salt, black pepper, cayenne to taste
Roux
8 cups cooked rice

Method
Cook your rice with the salt by your favorite method. I’m not giving water amounts or cooking times since rice varies so widely. My grandmothers would have used a local Louisiana rice that was relatively short-grained but since I can’t get that in Dubai, I’ve used long-grained Indian Basmati. Long-grained rice fluffs up more so my two cups raw made eight cups of cooked rice.

While the rice is cooking, you can make the roux. Using the amount of flour and oil in the ingredients list, follow the instructions here: How to Make Roux. Set the roux pot aside to cool in a sink filled with a little cool water. You don't want it to continue to darken once it's done. Don't get any water in the pot though!

Put your gizzards in the food processor and chop them up finely. Add in the liver and give it another few pulses to chop the liver as well.



Add the oil to a large pot or pan and then tip in the ground pork, ground beef and your chopped liver and gizzards.



Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, breaking the meat into small pieces with your spoon as it cooks.



While the meat is cooking, finely chop your onion, bell pepper, green onions and garlic.

Once the meat is well browned and even a little crispy, add in the chopped vegetables. Stir well.



Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and just about disappear.

Add in your roux and a cup or two of water and stir well. Season the mixture with salt, fresh ground black pepper and cayenne to taste. We like ours pretty spicy.



Lower the fire and simmer for a couple of hours, adding water occasionally when the mixture gets a little too dry. You want to end up with a thick meat-filled gravy.



Gently fluff your rice with a fork to separate the grains and then mix the rice in with the meat.



Garnish with some chopped green onions or parsley.

Enjoy!



What special recipes have your grandparents handed down to you? Here’s a list of favorites from my Sunday Supper family.

Sweets that are the Sweetest
Savory Meals with Special Memories


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To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.



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