Like most Americans, I tend to steer clear of offal (the organs of animals). I simply don’t know how to use them. But when I saw chicken livers at the butcher, I couldn’t pass them by. At $2 per pound, chicken livers are by far the most inexpensive cut of local, organic meat I’ve ever found, so I figured I’d give them a try.
I recalled southern friends raving about “dirty rice” – a dish flavored by livers, along with traditional Cajun seasonings. The results were so good, I made it twice.
Feel free to use a pepper hotter than a jalapeno, if you like a little kick. Also, if you really can’t stomach livers (I get it, I really do!), just leave them out. You’ll still wind up with delicious southern fried rice.
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (Basmati, Carolina, Jasmine, etc.)
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 pound smoked meat (I used smoked turkey, but think bacon, andouille sausage, etc.)
1/2 cup chicken livers, chopped
1 small white onion, diced
1 bunch scallions, ends removed
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1-3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon Old Bay or other Cajun seasoning
1. In a large pot, bring two cups of water and one cup of chicken broth to boil; season generously with salt. When liquid is boiling, stir in the rice and reduce heat to simmer. Let rice cook – covered and undisturbed – for 20 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Remove heat and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix to coat and set aside to cool.
2. While the rice is cooking, heat a drizzle of canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. Toss in smoked meat and cook til desired crispness. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Drizzle pan with canola oil, then add in add the celery, jalapeños, and onions. Sauté over medium-high heat till veggies are soft and browned, then stir in the liver and cook for a few minutes more.
4. Deglaze the pan with remaining broth and scrape brown bits from bottom of the pan. Add the thyme and seasonings and turn the heat to high; let most of the stock boil away then toss in the rice.
5. Remove pan from the heat and add the green onions and smoked meat. Toss once more and serve hot.