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In honor of Mardi Gras, which officially began on Jan. 6, I am bringing you classic Southern comfort food at its finest. Dirty Rice is a delicious blend of Cajun spices, vegetables, rice, sausage, and yes, chicken livers. Hailing from Louisiana, this one-pot wonder can be served either as a side or main dish.

There's plenty of celebrating ahead, with Mardi Gras culminating on Feb. 25 this year.

2020欧洲杯正规平台There are lots of variations of dirty rice; some folks add seafood and other vegetables, but this simple recipe is a true Cajun classic that will satisfy any appetite. Generously seasoned and a snap to prepare, you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes.

If you have never had dirty rice, you may be wondering about the name. The name comes from the "dirty" color of the white rice after combining it with the meats, vegetables, and spices. But while it is an odd name, this rich and hearty dish is full of spices and flavors that make Cajun dishes so satisfying and delicious.

More: Let the good times roll with Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits

Yes, dirty rice contains chicken livers! I know it's a shock for those of you like my husband who would never under any circumstances knowingly eat chicken livers. It's part of what makes this dish so flavorful, and it is also what helps give the rice its "dirty" color. You can leave them out if you must, but I hope you will at least give it a try. The livers are chopped very fine, and I guarantee unless you knew they are in there, you wouldn't guess it in a million years.

You might think its blasphemy to use Italian sausage in a Cajun dish, but the flavors are wonderful together. Bulk pork sausage, andouille, chorizo, or kielbasa can also be substituted, along with plain ground beef or a combination of beef and pork.

Easy Classic Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp bacon grease

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound Italian sausage, ground, not the links

1/2 pound chicken livers, finely chopped or ground

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. Cajun or Creole Seasoning

3 cups hot cooked rice

1/4 cup of chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish

Directions:

Add the bacon grease or olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook and stir for about five minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the garlic, sausage, and chicken livers. Break up the sausage and add the cumin, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Cook until the sausage is browned, and no pink remains.

Add the hot rice and parsley to the meat mixture and combine. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh parsley and serve hot.

Sharon's tips

Leftover dirty rice keeps well covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Because white rice turns mushy when frozen, it does not freeze well.

It's easier to finely chop the chicken livers if you first stick them in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Bulk pork sausage, andouille, chorizo, or kielbasa can also be substituted for the Italian sausage, along with plain ground beef or a combination of beef and pork.

Feel free to use either Cajun or Creole Seasoning in this recipe. I like Zatarain's.

You can substitute olive oil for the bacon grease.

I like and use Success Boil in Bag Basmati Rice. If you use this, you will need two bags of uncooked rice and then just follow the directions on the package. If you prefer, you can also make regular white rice for this recipe. You will need three cups of hot cooked rice.

Sharon Rigsby is the blogger behind Grits and Pinecones, a cooking and hospitality blog. Check out her recipes by visiting www.gritsandpinecones.com.

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