Travel down south to New Orleans and one dish you'll see on every dinner table is rice. An important crop in Louisiana since the 1700s, rice is so important nowadays it's part of Louisana's "3 pots" that make up a yummy Cajun meal- meat, rice, and a vegetable. When the holidays roll around instead of cornbread dressing, Louisianans prepare rice dressing or dirty rice for all to share around the table.
Louisiana and the Rice Industry
Known as the third largest rice-producing state in America behind Arkansas and California, Louisiana rice was brought south from the Carolinas with Acadian settlers who were descendants of 17th and 18th-century French settlers in Acadia, located in present-day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. After they were deported from their home by New England, some Arcadians were recruited by the Spanish government to migrate to Louisiana. The descendants became known as the Cajun culture.
Sit down at a Creole table and you'll probably be served a bowl of rice. But are you eating dirty rice or rice dressing? They may seem similar, but they couldn't be more different!
What is the difference between dirty rice and rice dressing?
While both dishes contain the holy trinity of green bell pepper, onion, and celery, the main difference is in the meat. A traditional rice dressing recipe will feature either ground beef or ground pork as its protein whereas Cajun dirty rice can contain organ meats such as chicken livers, chicken gizzards, hearts, and giblets. Sometimes the side dish can even feature boudin, a spicy blood-based sausage.
How to Make Rice Dressing
To start, brown your ground beef and breakfast pork sausage with vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Season with cajun seasoning and add in the chopped onion, bell pepper, and 2 cloves garlic and saute until meat is cooked and vegetables are soft.
Add in the uncooked long grain rice (you can use white rice or brown rice, even wild rice!) and add beef broth (chicken broth is fine) and water. Season with salt and black pepper and bring to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is cooked, about a 20 minute cook time.
Remove the lid and stir in cream of mushroom and chopped green onions. Serve the cooked rice and enjoy!
Products featured on Wide Open Eats are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.