Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cajun Rice Dressing - Dirty Rice Jambalaya

Cajun rice dressing, or dirty rice, is a rice based mixture often served during the holidays. A roux is what sets the two apart in my recipe box. Read on to see how to make this a Cajun Farre dressing for sandwiches!
Cajun rice dressing, or dirty rice, is a rice based mixture often served during the holidays. A roux is what sets the two apart in my recipe box. Read on to see how to make this a Cajun Farre dressing for sandwiches! 

Cajun Rice Dressing - Dirty Rice Jambalaya

This Cajun Farre Rice Dressing is essentially a dirty rice recipe, sometimes called Dirty Rice Jambalaya, that's been jazzed up a bit with a small roux for the holidays, beef stock added and baked, resulting in a more moist dish than dirty rice. It often makes an appearance both stuffed into some kind of bird or beef, or just simply as a side dish. 

I most often make this with chicken livers, or I use all of the giblets. So long as I grind them up, The Cajun, who wouldn't touch liver for the life of him, gobbles it up. Hey, don't judge! All I can say is it works, because not only does he eat it, but he always goes back for more. 

One thing I've learned about my husband is that he often has nothing but a mental aversion to certain things when he knows what they are, but will often try something not knowing what is in it, only to love it! Course if you are totally opposed yourself, you could certainly substitute in a few links of raw sausage, like fresh, un-smoked andouille, or boudin instead, though any raw sausage will do.

I sometimes use a full tablespoon of Zatarain's Big & Zesty bigger flake Creole seasoning, instead of my usual Slap Ya Mama, but use whatever is your own favorite. I wrote the recipe for a more traditional finer ground Cajun seasoning since that's more widely available, but just remember as always with spicy seasonings, add a little first, then taste and adjust.  If you use a spicy raw sausage, absolutely taste before adding any Cajun/Creole seasoning, or you may risk over seasoning it.  

Canned mushroom steak sauce, like Giorgio Dawn Fresh brand, is an excellent compliment for rice dressing, though cream of mushroom soup with a splash of Kitchen Bouquet and/or a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon beef base is a perfectly acceptable substitute if you can't find it.

This rice dressing is known here in the Deep South as a Cajun Farre dressing and when sweet potatoes are added, a Sweet Farre Dressing. Well, farre, a name that evolved from a mispronunciation of the French word farce, meaning forcemeat or dressing, had its beginnings in the Cajun and German River Road communities, just west of New Orleans. Make this dressing, but leave out the rice and let it simmer on the stovetop a bit,, then pile that up on a pistolette or po'boy bread, add a little yellow mustard, and you've got yourself a mighty fine Cajun Farre loose meat sandwich. Delish!

I apologize for the photo quality - bad weather, bad lighting.

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Recipe: Cajun Rice Dressing - Dirty Rice Jambalaya

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 1/2 pound chicken livers, rinsed, trimmed and minced (see note)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans mushroom steak sauce like Giorgio Dawn Fresh brand {affil link} (see note for substitute)
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning, or to taste
  • Sliced green onion, to garnish, optional
  • Hot pepper sauce, for the table

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. In a large skillet, add beef, pork and livers. Drain excess fat, if desired. Push meat aside and add cooking oil to center of skillet. Sprinkle in flour and make a caramel colored roux. Stir in the onion, bell pepper and celery; cook and stir about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the mushroom steak sauce (or cream of mushroom soup substitute below) and 1 cup of the beef stock. Stir in rice, adding additional beef stock to create a wet, but not soupy dressing. Stir in the Cajun/Creole seasoning, pepper and rice and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Turn out into the buttered baking dish, cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes, or to desired consistency. Garnish dish with green onion, if desired and serve with hot sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: If using giblets (livers and gizzards) place them in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes; set aside to cool. Once cooled, pulse the giblets in a food processor until finely minced. May also omit and substitute a couple of links of raw sausage (like fresh, un-smoked andouille or boudin), ground beef, or any combination as desired. If you use a spicy raw sausage, taste before adding any Cajun/Creole seasoning. As always, taste, add a little, then taste and adjust. Jalapeno peppers may be substituted for the sweet bell pepper. Mushroom steak sauce can usually be found on the grocery aisle with the canned mushrooms. If you can't find the mushroom steak sauce, substitute a can of cream of mushroom soup with a splash of Kitchen Bouquet and/or a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon beef base in a pinch.

Sweet Farre Dressing: Add 1-1/2 cups shredded raw sweet potato with the vegetables and cook down.

Cajun Farre Loose Meat Sandwich: Prepare the dish all the way up to the point of adding the rice but omit the rice, and do not bake. Instead, let mixture simmer on the stovetop for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring regularly. Spoon the meat mixture onto warmed po'boy bread or pistolette rolls and serve as sandwiches.

Oyster Rice Dressing: Reduce beef and pork by half. Omit mushroom steak sauce and substitute chicken or seafood stock. Drain 1 pint oysters, reserving liquid, chop oysters and add liquor with the chicken broth. Stir in oysters with rice, transfer to baking dish and bake as above.


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