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 - Dirty Rice Jambalaya

This Cajun 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, where it often makes an appearance both stuffed into some kind of bird or beef, or just simply as a side dish. While I intended to make this dish for the blog anyway, instead of chopping the giblets or leaving them out altogether, I wondered if I finely minced them with the food processor instead, could I pull this off and get The Cajun to at least taste it.

Well sure enough, it worked! Not only did he eat it, but he went back for more. I know - don't judge. The man often has nothing but a mental aversion to 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 decided to use the Zatarain's Big & Zesty Creole seasoning here, for the bigger flakes, instead of my usual Slap Ya Mama, but use whatever is your own favorite. If you are using something like Slap Ya Mama, or some other more finely ground Cajun or Creole seasoning, you will probably want to tone it down from that full tablespoon though. As always, 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 is a perfectly acceptable substitute if you can't find it.

Ever heard of a Cajun Farre dressing? Or a Cajun dressing sandwich? 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, and you have farre dressing pretty much. Pile that up on a pistolette like loose meat, add a little yellow mustard, and you've got yourself a mighty fine Cajun dressing sandwich. Delish!

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

For more of my rice dressing and jambalaya recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

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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 pound chicken giblets, rinsed and trimmed (see note)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup canola 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 (see note for substitute)
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning, or to taste
  • 3 cups of cooked rice
  • Chopped green onion, to garnish, optional
  • Hot pepper sauce, for the table

Place the giblets 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.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. In a large skillet, brown and crumble the beef and pork. Drain and set aside. In that same skillet, start a roux by heating the canola oil over medium heat; stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture reaches a caramel color. 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 and the beef stock, until fully incorporated. Add the browned beef and pork to the sauce mixture, along with the processed giblets. If you are substituting a spicy sausage for the giblets, taste before adding any Cajun or Creole seasoning; otherwise, 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 30 minutes. Serve with hot sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: 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 in a pinch.

Can use turkey or chicken necks, livers and gizzards for the giblets. Can also omit the giblets 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. I like to use about a tablespoon of Zatarain's Big & Zesty, which is a larger flake Creole seasoning. Jalapeno peppers may be substituted for the sweet bell pepper.

Cajun Dressing 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 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Spoon the meat mixture onto warmed pistolette rolls and serve as sandwiches.

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Posted by on December 21, 2010

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  1. Wish I could find those ingredients here, the mushroom sauce and the seasoning. We have a great rice vendor here that offers packages of premixed Dirty Rice. I love it and can't imagine what the real thing would taste like. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  2. Hi Lea Ann! Cream of mushroom soup and any kind of Cajun or Creole seasoning will work with this and taste just as good. Merry Christmas to you too!!

  3. Oh, I jsut know that I would LVOE this! It looks amazing and I love the mushroom sauce, I just tried it for the first time this year!!


  4. Dirty rice is a favorite of mine and I loved the chorizo rice dressing I made last year, so I know this cajun rice dressing would rock too. Except I might have to skip the chicken giblets ;)

  5. Hi Mary,

    This is one of my go to site for really good, no nonsense recipes. I have a question about you Cajun dirty rice dressing. Have you ever used it as an accompaniment to gumbo? I want to try something other than steamed rice and I'm really feeling these ingredients.

  6. Hi Karen! Well I have never done that, but why not?! I'm sure it'd be good - let me know if you give it a try.

  7. Is there a way i can make this without it being spicy?

    1. Hi Pamela! You can make a basic rice dressing by omitting the Cajun seasoning and using a mild pork sausage. I highly advise tasting it before cooking so that you can adjust with basic seasonings. Cajun seasoning typically contains salt, red and black peppers, garlic, and some brands contain other seasonings such as paprika, parsley, onion powder etc. I would also still offer hot pepper sauce at the table for those guests who enjoy a little heat.

  8. can this be pre made and frozen for future baking?

    1. Hi Yvette! I'm not a big freezer cook, so I've not frozen this dish, but I do think it would freeze well and you could probably go one of two ways, either preparing the dish all the way up to before adding the rice, freeze the base and add fresh cooked rice when you thaw it to bake. I think if you tightly covered the casserole, you could completely prepare it, but don't cook it and freeze it that way. Be sure to thaw overnight in the fridge, then let it come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking. Let me know if you try it and I'll update the recipe with your results!

  9. Mary, This looks absolutely delicious, and a “must try.” I love stuff that’s stupid simple; kinda reminds me of me.
    I’ve been making something similar for decades, but a NYC version; naturally without the Cajun seasoning. That’ll never happen again. I’ve only used chicken livers and only sautéed and not boiled them. I find that boiling makes the gizzards rubbery. I remove the cooked livers and then brown the meat.
    I’ve never made a roux for this dish. I'm curious however, why not use the fats from the meat as your oil base for the roux? I would think it would add to the overall flavor.
    Thanks again. God bless.

    1. Hi Chris! You certainly could. I prefer to use fresh cooking oil for my roux but I'm a little sensitive to beef fats sometimes, so that's probably why.

  10. Hey, Mary! I'm looking forward to making this dish(and some others of yours!) next week for Thanksgiving! Can't wait to try something other than a bread stuffing! I don't like giblets, so would spicy bulk pork breakfast sausage be a good substitute( ex. Tennessee Pride or Jimmy Dean)? Thanks again for sharing your recipes! Marie Manis

    1. Hi Marie! Yes, absolutely you can make that substitute!

  11. Hey Mary! Excited to add this to our menu this year. Thanksgiving is only a couple days away and I am getting ready to start the process. I was wondering your thoughts on cooking this dish ahead?

    1. This one should make ahead well for a day or two, just remember you'll need to cover it tightly with several layers of foil to keep the rice from drying out in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before baking, and bake it covered to keep the moisture in - covered will take a little bit of extra time to cook through.

  12. Made this one year for Thanksgiving! Let me tell you, DELISH!!!!


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