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Cajun Dirty Rice (Rice Dressing)
This is my written interpretation of a recipe I saw my mother cook many times, although she never measured any of the ingredients. To tell you the truth, I never measure any of the ingredients either, although I've given approximations here that should serve you pretty well.
Many Cajun rice dressing recipes call for liver, but my loving Mom always used eggplant instead, which was convenient considering that Dad grew eggplant in his garden just as I do today. What I didn’t know until just before Dad’s passing was the reason why Mom used eggplant. You see, when my parents were dating, my father would often visit my mother’s family and they would always make “dirty rice,” but with liver. After noticing that Dad would never eat it, my grandmother (MawMaw Ardoin) inquired and learned that he didn’t care for liver. From that point on, she began making it with eggplant, which he liked just fine. Growing up we always had it with eggplant and I never even knew some folks made it with liver until I was an adult. Nowadays I like it both ways, but this eggplant version is especially dear to my heart.
Cajun Dirty Rice (Rice Dressing) Recipe
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves (optional), minced
About 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, to taste (I use Tony Cachere's)
About 2 cups cooked white rice*, measured after it's cooked.
(*Brown rice works just fine too and gives it a nice dark color.)
Season the meat with Cajun seasoning and brown it very well.
Add all the remaining ingredients except the rice, and cook it until the onions are translucent and the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pot (stirring often).
Add about 1/2 cup of water (or chicken broth) and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to "deglaze" it.
Continue cooking the mixture for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is just about completely broken down, adding a little water periodically to keep it nice and moist.
Stir in the cooked rice and mix well so that it absorbs all the liquid.
Note: I like serving this as a side dish, and if the main dish is a something that produces pan drippings I usually stir a tablespoon or two of the drippings into the rice dressing.
Tonnere mes chiens c’est bon! (That’s French from my Mom’s side. She was an Ardoin from Ville Platte.)
Hope you enjoy!
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