Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage

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Go South with Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage—a spicy mix of ‘Holy Trinity’ veggies, rice, and smoky sausage straight from Louisiana.

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage close up shot

I don’t usually let anything dirty in my kitchen. Except when it comes to this dish.

For this plate of rice we’re heading back to the South, to Creole country, to make what appears a dirty batch of basmati but is actually one of the tastiest Southern dishes I’ve made in a long time. And that’s saying something considering I’ve made Shrimp Gumbo and Baked Creamy Cheese Grits—both of which are associated with Louisiana life.

You can serve this rice dish as a side but you may find it filling on its own. After all, it’s chock-full of Andouille sausage, onion, celery, and peppers (a.k.a. the “Holy Trinity” of Creole cooking), with Italian seasoning rounding out the flavor. Looking for a one-stop dish that packs it all into your bowl? Then this is the meal for you.

What Makes a Meal ‘Cajun’?

First, the term “Cajun” is the term used to describe the “Acadian” people, who were Acadian (French) immigrants to Louisiana. So the ensuing cuisine boasts a lot of French influence. That said, given it’s the South, you’ll also taste Spanish, African, and Native American influences. You’ll see/taste a common thread run throughout these dishes: the use of a roux (a syrupy mix of flour and oil/butter), the Holy Trinity of veggies, as mentioned above, and its bold and spicy seasoning. Cajun cuisine is similar to another Louisiana cuisine—Creole—but there are differences. An obvious one is Creole’s use of tomatoes and tomato sauces. Creole also relies heavily on seafood, whereas Cajun dishes will feature a range of meats.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground sausage
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp Italian herbs
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs green onion, sliced
  • 1 small bunch of parsley leaves
Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage ingredients top shot

How To Make Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage

Step 1: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based pot over MED-HIGH heat. Add the ground sausage meat and brown it for 5-8 minutes.

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage steps top shot

Step 2: Remove the meat. Add the rest of the olive oil to the now-empty pot. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and diced peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage steps top shot

Step 3: Add the meat back into the pot along with the Cajun seasoning, Italian herbs, basmati rice, stock, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes or until all the water has cooked away. Turn off the heat and let it steam with the lid on for another 5 minutes.

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage steps top shot

Step 4: Remove the lid. Sprinkle on the sliced green onions and parsley and fluff the rice.

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage steps top shot

Top Tips For Perfect Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage

  • Remember to remove the bay leaves at some point (I usually do that before serving).
  • Rinse the rice before cooking to remove excess starch. You will get a fluffier rice, not sticky clumps of rice.
  • Choose a good-quality sausage, I like them with a strong smoky flavor to it.
  • Focus on your Trinity. Don’t rush the cooking of the peppers, onion, and celery. It’s the backbone of your dish. Finely chop them and sauté until soft.
  • Don’t remove the lid until the rice has been steamed following the simmering. This is my secert to fluff the rice.
Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage top shot

FAQs

Can I use a different type of rice?

Long-grain rice is preferable. Jasmine or basmati will do.

What type of sausage should I use?

Andouille is traditional. If you can’t find it ready-ground, buy segmented sausage and free the meat from its casing. And if you don’t want to use sausage, you can add small pieces of chicken liver or giblets (which have long been associated with dirty rice).

What’s the difference between Italian herbs and Cajun seasoning?

The biggest difference is the heat associated with Cajun seasoning. Cajun seasoning typically includes cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, and oregano. Italian herbs also have oregano and thyme, but also rosemary, sage, and basil.

Do I have to deseed the peppers?

The seeds and capsaicin (that white membrane inside a pepper) store the heat. So, if you like to feel the burn, leave them intact. I personally like how the seeds add a pleasant crunch.

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage steps top shot

Serving Suggestions

Jenny’s Cornbread: You can’t have a Southern dish without cornbread!

Southern Sweet Tea: A yummy beverage made with black tea, lots of sugar, lemon, and mint.

Creamy Polenta: The Italian version of Southern grits.

Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes: An easy-to-follow recipe for green tomatoes fried in a breadcrumb coating.

How to Store Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage

Let the dirty rice cool completely in the pot. Then move the whole thing into the fridge where it should last for up to 4 days. You can also store the rice in an airtight container if that’s more convenient. To reheat, use a microwave or stovetop. To freeze, put the rice in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag (flatten the bag on its side for easier storage).

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage top shot
Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage close up shot

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe with Sausage

Go South with Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage—a spicy mix of 'Holy Trinity' veggies, rice, and smoky sausage straight from Louisiana.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground sausage
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 sticks celery chopped
  • 1 green pepper deseeded and diced
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp Italian herbs
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs green onion sliced
  • 1 small bunch parsley leaves picked

Instructions
 

  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based pot over MED-HIGH heat. Add the ground sausage meat and brown it for 5-8 minutes.
  • Remove the meat. Add the rest of the olive oil to the now-empty pot. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and diced peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the meat back into the pot along with the Cajun seasoning, Italian herbs, basmati rice, stock, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes or until all the water has cooked away. Turn off the heat and let it steam with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lid sprinkle on the sliced green onions and parsley and fluff the rice.

Notes

  • Remember to remove the bay leaves at some point (either before you serve your guests or remind them to do so). Bay leaves don’t soften and could lead to an upset stomach.
  • Rinse the rice to remove excess starch. This will result in fluffy rice, not sticky clumps of rice.
  • Choose a good-quality sausage with a strong smoky flavor to it.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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