Happy Birthday to my dad!
I wasn't a picky eater as a child, but there were a few things I avoided.
Like Dirty Rice. I mean, why was the rice dirty?
Did someone not wash their hands? Drop the food on the floor?
Honestly, does it really matter how the rice got dirty?
Somewhere along the way I learned that dirty rice is dirty because of the browned bits of meat mixed in with the rice. And I was ok with that.
Until I learned that dirty rice doesn't just have meat in it...there's liver and sometimes gizzards floatin' around in there. That's the kind of thing I'd rather not ask questions about. Rather not know.
So my dirty rice is dirty. As in a dirty trick. Dirty rice that has bacon drippings and ground pork to give porkiness and richness that livers and such usually add. Down and dirty, Dirty Rice.
Something else down and dirty is my favorite blues musician, Tab Benoit.
He has a way of weaving New Orleans funk, Zydeco, and Cajun sounds, themes, and lyrics into the blues.
One of my favorites is Fever for the Bayou. I love the lyrics:
Got the fever for the bayou
Muddy waters take me home...
Down the Mississippi River, to the Gulf of Mexico.
Oh where I find my Cajun babe, and I dance a zydeco.
He opened with Fever for the Bayou at Gretna Fest 2013. I was as giddy as a schoolgirl in pigtails.
The last day of Gretna Fest was a fine day. Good weather, Saints on the big screen next to the stage (winning), and Tab Benoit singing on the banks of the Mississippi.
Another of my favorites:
Again, I identify with the lyrics
There's something in the water that's callin' my name
More Tab Benoit
More Gretna Fest
And some more Gretna Fest
(Dirty) Dirty Rice
1 ½ c white rice, cooked (can be made ahead)
½ Tbsp bacon drippings
½ lb ground beef
½ lb ground pork
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 hot pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½-3/4 c beef broth
¾-1 tsp salt, or to taste
½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 green onions, chopped and divided
Add the bacon drippings to a wide cast iron or stainless steel pot set on medium high heat. When hot, add the beef and pork. Cook until meat is well browned and sticking to the bottom of the pan (about 8-10 minutes). Add the vegetables and sauté for a minute or two. Add ½ cup broth. Stir the broth and vegetables, using them to pull the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes to soften the vegetables. Stir in the rice and 2/3 of the green onion. Add more broth if the mixture seems dry. Heat through and taste for seasoning. Before serving, top with the remaining green onion.
Serves 4 as a main dish.