Every chicken you roast comes with a packet of little gems—the gizzard, liver, and such, which are good additions to a rich stock, stuffing, or gravy. But in my book? The best use for these unassuming parts is to make a big pot of Cajun dirty rice. The “dirty” in the title comes from the dark color these bits add to the finished rice. If you’ve never had dirty rice, you’ll be shocked (as my boys were) at how gizzards and livers transform in this dish to something so delicious.
Made with plenty of garlic, peppers, spices, and onion—plus ground pork and rice that plumps up in stock—I like to enhance the flavor even more with smoked turkey necks and some andouille sausage. This recipe makes a big pot of comfort— ten generous servings. I like to serve it with okra or greens on the side.
• 6 cups chicken stock
• 1 1/2 lb chicken gizzards (I used Amish)
• 1 lb smoked turkey neckbones
• 1 lb ground pork
• 3 Tbsp bacon fat
• 6 Tbsp butter, divided
• 1 large onion, peeled, cored and chopped to make `1 1/2 cups
• 3 ribs celery, chopped to make 1 cup
• 2 Cubanelle or Anaheim peppers, chopped to make 1 cup
• 1 bell pepper, chopped to make 3/4 cup
• 6 cloves garlic, minced to make ⅓ cup
• 3 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
• 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
• 2 tsp salt
• 1 lb chicken livers, connective tissue removed, livers chopped small (I used Amish)
• 2 tsp sherry
• 1 tsp sugar
• 3 cups long grain rice (I used basmati)
• 12 oz. package Cajun-style andouille sausage
• Chopped green onion or chives to garnish
• Hot sauce
In a stock pot over medium heat, add chicken stock to cover gizzards and smoked turkey neckbones and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for ó hour. Remove gizzards to the bowl of a food processor. Remove turkey necks to a bowl to cool. Reserve chicken stock. Pulse the food processor to grind the gizzards to a fine crumble. When the turkey neckbones are cool enough to handle, remove/shred as much of the meat as you can.
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add bacon fat and 3 Tbsp of the butter and fry the ground gizzards with the ground pork. Sauté until the ground pork is cooked through. Stir in the turkey neck meat. Reduce heat to medium low. Add onion, celery, peppers, garlic and spices. Stir, cooking for five minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add 1 cup of the reserved chicken stock. Cover and cook until the vegetables are soft.
Add the rice and the rest of the stock. Increase heat to high. When stock boils; immediately reduce heat to low. Cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is tender. Set aside. Heat oven to 300 degrees. While oven preheats, in a sauté pan, melt remaining 3 Tbsp of butter. Fry liver until cooked through. Deglaze pan with sherry; stir in sugar. Stir livers in with the rest of the mixture. Place Dutch oven in preheated oven, uncovered for 15 minutes. While rice heats in oven, cook andouille with 1 cup water in a sauté pan for 10 minutes. Drain any remaining water; continue cooking andouille in pan until browned. Slice. Add andouille to the dirty rice. Fluff rice. Serve dirty rice sprinkled with green onion and plenty of hot sauce.
Note: This dish tastes just as good the second day.