I’ve mentioned before how much I like Liana Krissoff’s books. This recipe from her latest book, Whole Grains for a New Generation for dirty rice is a good reason why. It calls for simple-to-find reasonably inexpensive real food ingredients, is easily adaptable, plus it’s gluten free AND squeezes another meal from that more-expensive pastured chicken. And I haven’t even mentioned delicious yet.

Friendly, simple, homey and approachable, yet with a few simple tricks that boost the final dishes into richer, better versions.
Liana says, “Dirty rice, in addition to being delicious and easy to make, is a friendly entree into the nose-to-tail lifestyle.  In fact, if you have a chicken back or neck in the freezer, go ahead and toss it into the pot with the gizzards and  discard it with the bay leaf – the bones will give the broth body and and more flavor.”

Serves 6

  • 1 pound chicken gizzards & hearts, plus a few livers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp plus 1 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ground cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup raw, long-grain brown rice, rinsed at least three times
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • vinegary cayenne hot sauce like Crystal or Tabasco
Put the gizzards, bay leaf and a few grinds of black pepper in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water (at least three cups), and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Using tongs, remover the gizzards to a cutting board (discard the bay leaf) and set aside.
Pour the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large glass measuring cup or bowl and set aside.
In a small saute pan, heat the 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken livers and hearts and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Remove to the cutting board with the gizzards and let cool for a few minutes. 
In a large, deep saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat and add the onion.  cook, stirring occasionally until translucent and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. 
Meanwhile, chop the gizzards, livers and hearts until the largest pieces are about the size of a piece of the celery (and the hearts are no longer recognizable). Add them to the pan with the onion and cook until no pink remains and the onion is nicely browned and sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Stir int he celery, salty, 1/2 tsp black pepper, the cayenne and rice.  
Add 2 1/2 cups of the strained broth and stir to scrape up the browned bits.  Cover the pan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the rice is tender and and the liquid is absorbed, 45 – 50 minutes. If the rice is tender but the mixture is still soupy, uncover and increase the heat to high until the excess liquid is evaporated.
Fold in the scallions and cook until heated through and wilted, about 3 minutes. 
Serve with hot sauce at the table. 
Quick not-so dirty rice version:
For a quicker, lighter dish using ground pork or turkey and cooked brown rice, omit the gizzards, heart and livers and skip the broth-making.  
Simply saute the onion and celery together until lightly browned, about 8 minutes, then add 1 pound of ground pork or turkey and cook until the excess liquid in the pan is evaporated and the sausage is lightly browned and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in the salt, cayenne and black pepper to taste, then gently fold in the scallions and about 4 cups of cooked and cooled brown rice. Cook, turning frequently, until heated through. Serve with hot sauce.