Soul Food, Part 1: Dirty Rice


My co-worker Selena suggested we prepare a soul food meal together, and I thought that was a wonderful idea. I was curious to try it and what better way than together with someone who grew up with soul food?! This is Selena, preparing her family recipe corn bread.


We prepared several soul food dishes, and the first one I’m sharing you with you is Dirty Rice. This is rice (can be leftover cooked rice) mixed with meat, vegetables, and a Cajun or Creole spice mix. This can be store-bought, but of course it is better to blend it yourself. Here’s what we did…



For 6 servings

400 grams (2 cups) uncooked rice

225 grams (.5 lb) mixed (beef and pork) ground meat

225 grams (.5 lb) mixed chicken gizzards and livers

225 grams (.5 lb) bacon

1 onion, diced, diced

1 green bell pepper, cleaned and diced

4 green onions, green part only, sliced

1 celery stalk, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeño, minced


1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper



Grind the chicken gizzards and livers, or chop them finely.

Cook the rice.


Cook the bacon in a dry frying pan…


…until it is cooked but not crispy.


Take the bacon out of the pan with a strainer and set aside, leaving behind the bacon drippings.


Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and season with salt.


Cook over medium heat, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.


Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for another minute.


Add the ground meats…


…and cook, breaking up the meat, until it has lost its raw color.


Season with white pepper (1/4 tsp), black pepper (1/4 tsp), paprika (2 tsp), dried thyme (1 tsp), dried oregano (1 tsp), cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp). Add the reserved bacon.


Stir to incorporate the seasoning. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and spices, if you wish.


Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring now and then.


Add the cooked rice and green onions.


Mix everything very well — according to Selena only a lazy cook leaves clumps of white rice in dirty rice.


Serve as part of a soul food feast (more to follow).



What a nice coincidence that the next flashback (which I generally do in chronological order) is shrimp jambalaya, another delicious Cajun rice dish.

17 thoughts on “Soul Food, Part 1: Dirty Rice

  1. Hello Stefan,
    This looks very nice, and I think one can vary it quite a bit by adding different offal as well.
    I was wondering if it would not improve the dish if uncooked rice and stock or water was added after the meat was added. That would give the rice a chance to pick up all the flavours, in fact be more like a pilaff?
    Best regards and thank you for the blog,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leif, cooking the rice with the dish certainly is a good variation. Especially if you don’t have leftover cooked rice that needs to be used up. The texture will be different when it is cooked more like a pilaf.
      Thanks for commenting!


  2. Even looking at the pictures is mouthwatering! I have to honestly tell you – I love cooking and I’m very happy doing it just by myself. However, been able to do it together with someone who shares your passion is totally next level of experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In the South (USA), we would say:
    “Ya’ll did a purdy fair job of cookin’ an’ looks good nuff to make you slap your Mama.”

    Seriously, it looks very good and has an interesting combination of meats that reflect her family’s heritage in cooking. We make dirty rice about once a month and vary the meat ingredients (whatever is in the fridge). Especially when we have a bunch of (Southern def.) rice left over.

    Laissez les bons temps rouler ya’ll.

    Liked by 1 person

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