Louisiana-Style “Dirty Rice” made with Mushrooms


Louisiana-Style “Dirty Rice” made with Mushrooms


 “Dirty Rice” is a Louisiana-Cajun sort of rice pilaf in which the rice was traditionally cooked with finely chopped chicken livers, ground meat or sausage, plus seasonings. I prefer it made with chopped dark mushrooms rather than chicken giblets. That idea came from having the wonderful Riz Djon-Djon in Haiti, a specialty rice dish enriched as well as colored a rich brown by local hill-side black
mushrooms. I use Basmati or other long-grained rice, but in Louisiana cooking medium-grained rice, from Louisiana or Arkansas, is more typical.

Louisiana-Style “Dirty Rice” made with Mushrooms

Dirty Rice in Louisiana is frequently served with stewed red beans. It makes a good side for a number of savory braised or stewed dishes.


The recipe serves six to eight as part of dinner.


1 1/2 cups Basmati or other long-grained rice

1 medium-small onion

1/4 large green bell pepper

1/2 stick celery

1/4 pound (4 ounces) baby Bella or Portobello mushrooms

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (or 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp celery salt, 1/4 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne)

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 bay leaves

2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

Coarsely chopped parsley or thinly cross-cut green onion tops for garnish


Rinse and drain rice twice to remove excess starch, and set aside to dry. Finely chop together in a food processor the onion, bell pepper, celery and mushrooms, or finely mince them on a cutting board with a chef’s knife.


In heavy cooking pot in which the rice will be cooked, fry together the minced vegetables and olive oil. Stir frequently, scraping the bottom of the pot. When the mixture is becoming softer and darker, add the ketchup, dry seasonings, and bay leaves. Add the drained rice and stir well. Add broth and stir briefly. Then do not stir again until cooking is done. Bring pot to the boil, uncovered. When boiling, without stirring, cover tightly and turn heat to lowest setting. Set timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off heat and allow to rest without opening the pot for 10 more minutes.


Open pot, remove bay leaves, and fluff gently with a fork. Cover and keep warm until served. When serving, sprinkle lightly with chopped parsley or sliced green onion tops.


An alternative cooking method can be used with a rice cooker. Put drained rice in rice cooker. Fry vegetables and the olive oil in a pan until color has changed. Add this mixture to the rice in the rice cooker. Add the ketchup, dry seasonings, bay leaves and broth. Stir briefly. Cover and cook as usual without opening the cover. When heat goes off, again without uncovering, let rest 10 more minutes. Then remove bay leaves, and fluff the rice with a fork. Keep warm until served. Sprinkle with the parsley or green onion garnish when serving.

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