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Down & Dirty Cajun Rice

A healthier play off Dirty Rice.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 ounces (about 2 slices) bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small stalk celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green or yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, optional
  • thinly sliced green onion for garnish, optional

Instructions

Place rice in a strainer, place over a medium sized bowl in the sink. With water running over the rice and using hands, swish the rice to release the starch. When the bowl fills, dump the water and repeat five more times (for a total of six times) until the water is clear. Strain rice and set aside. (Do not skip rinsing the rice as this also affects the amount of liquid needed to make this recipe a success.)

Heat a large pan or Dutch oven, add bacon and fry until crisp. Add onion, celery and bell peppers, saute until vegetables are slightly softened. Stir in garlic and cook for about 30 seconds longer. Add a little oil, at any point if mixture appears too dry.

Add rice, stirring to coat, and cook for about a minute. Quickly add salt, pepper, cayenne and hot sauce. Immediately add chicken stock and stir in bay, oregano, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn heat down to a bare simmer.

Simmer 15 to 17 minutes. Taste for texture: rice should be al dente with a bit of a bite, but tender. If not, quickly replace lid and cook a moment longer. Watch the heat level towards the end of cooking; the rice should form a bit of a crust on the bottom, but not be burned. If you catch any scent of burning, remove the rice immediately from the heat and let it cool down for just a minute.

When done, turn heat off, leaving lid on and rest for five minutes. Fluff with a fork. Use a spatula, if needed to bring any toasted rice up to the top of the dish.

Remove bay leaves and garnish with green onion.

Notes

Shortcut this recipe by using a tablespoon of a Cajun Spice instead of the individual spices.

If you’d like, save out a little of the bacon when it’s crisp and use it to garnish the rice when it’s done.

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