By popular demand, I present one of my favorite recipes. I was about seven or eight years old the first time I made this. Mom was insistent that all four of us had to learn self-sufficency, starting at an early age. She stood over my shoulder the first few times I tried a new dish, of course.
I've never had a "real" recipe. I pinch & dab a lot in the kitchen. I'm not a pro at translating what I do, but here's my best try!
giblets from 3 or 4 chickens, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 or 3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 cups rice
water or broth as needed (1 - 2 cups)
Chop the pepper, onion and celery. I like mine fine-chopped, but chunky is good if you prefer. This was called the Holy Trinity of the Louisiana kitchen long before Emeril came along.
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat and add the giblets. Cook until brown but not done, stirring frequently. Remove the giblets from the pot, using a slotted spoon. (When I make this for myself, I like it "meaty" so I ususally puchase a package of chicken liver to add in. "Normal" people use what they've saved and frozen from the last few whole chickens they've purchased.)
Stir the chopped seasoning vegetables and garlic into the pot. Stir and cook until onions are translucent and the vegetables are beginning to brown. Add the meat back into the pan and add the rice.
Cook for another ten minutes, stirring frequently, until rice is brown. Add the remainder of the seasoning.
Drizzle a small amount (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup) of liquid into the pot (less its better!) Stir, turn burner to low and cover the pot. Allow it to cook until the liquid is absorbed, about eight to ten minutes. Add another small measure of liquid and repeat the last step. Continue in this manner until the rice is done, about half an hour. Stir throughout the process, but not so often or so vigorously that you break down the rice.
The last step is the hard part. If you add too much liquid too quickly you'll end up with mush. Take your time & add the liquid gradually to achieve perfection.
That was my Easter dinner last year. The flash and the blue plate did terrible things to the color of the carrot salad. What can I say? I'm no pro when it comes to photography. The pile of goodness at the lower left is a sauteed mushroom concoction. At lower right is a garlic chicken breast.
I used to make this much spicier. If you've got a cast iron stomach (mine's worn out!) add additional pepper & Tabasco to hit your perfect spot on the "hot" scale!
Labels: dirty rice, life in the south, southern cooking