Monday, August 20, 2012

Dirty Rice

Dirty rice is a popular Cajun dish that has traditionally been made with chicken livers to give it its “dirty” appearance.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of chicken livers.  So I’m sharing my mom’s dirty rice recipe with you.  She uses ground beef to make her dirty rice.  Her star ingredient is curry powder, which really sets this apart from other dirty rice dishes I have tried and gives this almost a Cajun fusion feel. 

This recipe calls for very few ingredients.  I have added a couple that my mom doesn’t typically add just to give it a little more color (scallions) and heat (red pepper flakes), but it is important to use all of the good stuff since curry powder, beef, and butter are really the stars of the show.  I thought long and hard about making a healthy version of this using brown rice and ground turkey, but I quickly came to realize that it wouldn’t be the same.  Stay tuned and I may try it out one day J

Dirty Rice

2c uncooked rice (using rice cooker measuring cup)
2c water (using rice cooker measuring cup)
1 lb lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ c chopped onion
4 tbsp butter, divided
1 lb shrimp
4 tsp salt, divided
4 tsp ground pepper, divided
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp curry powder
¼ c diced scallions

Combine rice and water and cook rice in a rice cooker per instructions.  Note: In my rice cooker, 2c  = ~1 ½ c uncooked rice.  (If not using a rice cooker, cook 1 ½ c rice per package instructions).  Once finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside.

Tip: Use a little less water than what the rice cooker or package calls for to prevent the rice from getting mushy when combining with other ingredients.

Brown ground beef over medium heat.  Once about half of the beef is browned, add garlic and onion. 

While ground beef is browning, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp butter to skillet.  Once melted, add shrimp and cook shrimp on each side for 2 minutes.  Season shrimp with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.

Note: I used large shrimp (13-15 per pound) but you can use any size for this dish. Keep in mind that cooking time will be significantly less for smaller shrimp.

Once ground beef is browned, reduce heat to low and season beef with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Add cooked rice and shrimp (including drippings) to beef mixture.  Add remaining salt, ground pepper, seasoning salt, butter, red pepper flakes, and curry powder and stir until combined. 

Remove from heat and stir in scallions.  Serve immediately.

This rice is delicious as an entrée or a side dish.  To make it a full meal, serve with a green salad and you have an easy weeknight dinner in under 40 minutes.  If you want, make the rice in advance and save even more time!

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