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This Mardi Gras, don’t be afraid to get dirty. No, we’re not talking about activities that might earn you beads on Bourbon Street; we’re talking about making rice.
Dirty rice gets its name from its less-than-beautiful appearance and its amazing depth of flavor from chicken livers and giblets. Spiced with cayenne pepper and enriched with celery, onion, bell peppers and garlic, the one-pot rice dish is the perfect Mardi Gras side dish or main. Here, our best recipes for dirty rice—both traditional and offal-free.
1. Dirty Rice
For complexity, Bobby Flay adds a touch of maple syrup.
2. Dirty Rice with Shrimp
Typically chopped chicken livers and ground meat make the rice look "dirty." For this special version, we've left out the livers and added shrimp but kept the rest of the usual lineup—onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic.
3. Wild and Dirty Rice
Earthy wild rice is fantastic in this hearty recipe.
4. Eggplant Dirty Rice
This vegetarian take on the New Orleans classic gets its rich flavors from eggplant and soy sauce.
5. Almost Dirty Pork Rice
Perfect for people who are squeamish about offal, this variation substitutes ground pork for chicken giblets.
6. Chicken Livers with Bacon, Watercress and Dirty Rice
There’s no hiding the livers in this one-dish meal. They’re dredged in seasoned flour, fried and served on top of the rice.
7. Dirty Turkey-Rice Purloo
Chef Robert Stehling borrows elements of dirty rice for his take on purloo, a Carolina rice hash.