Cajun rice – A one-pan meal filled with Cajun flavors that comes together in a mix of fragrant rice and perfectly browned meat. This recipe may look simple at first glance but, trust me, there’s more to it than meets the eye. It’s a super easy recipe you can make without the need for any exotic spices or flashy cooking methods.
You’ve probably seen that most, if not all, of my dishes here, explore bold flavors. I mean, who can blame me? I just love tickling my palates with different mixes and matches of homemade flavors. Luckily, today’s recipe tackles just that, which also uses one of my favorite homemade spices.
One of my favorite taste profiles is the soulful south because it offers more than just flavor. I love these dishes because it also holds a good chunk of African-African heritage in every dish.
This Cajun Rice recipe, for one, uses native ingredients such as rice which was a staple in the south. Let’s dive into this recipe and see how it carries the southern signature flavors you’ll surely love.
When you talk about Cajun cuisine, you might immediately think of spicy dishes such as barbecue and wings. However, this type of cooking is not just about the hot flavor because it’s more about the ingredients used.
This type of cuisine is influenced by West African, French, and Spanish but uses local and readily available ingredients. So, instead of recreating the original recipes from their respective regions, this cuisine was born. The cuisine often involves freshwater seafood with an intricate mix of spices to create a unique taste profile.
Today’s recipe is a good example of how the dish adapted to the local scenery. Rice replaced potatoes because it was highly abundant in Louisiana where the dish originated.
Is it the same with Dirty Rice?
The simple answer to this comparison is “they are essentially the same dish.” They have different names now because it’s less appetizing having a dish with the word “dirty” served for dinner.
The original recipe for Dirty Rice uses innards such as chicken liver, gizzards, and stock which gives the “dirty color”. This also gives the hearty flavor of the dish which the other ingredients enhance. Oh! And by the way, dirty rice doesn’t have dirt in it!
This dish has quite a rustic style of food preparation as it uses locally sourced or available ingredients. The ingredients are simple enough that you might already have these in your fridge.
Here’s everything you’ll need for the distinct hearty flavor of the dish.
- Long grain rice
- Water or broth (chicken or beef depending on what you plan to use)
- Bay leaf
- Ground beef
- Green bell pepper
- Beef stock
- Creole seasoning (Get the homemade version here)
- Green onion scallions
- Pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste
- Chicken or beef broth
To make the whole dish vegan-friendly, you’re going to replace a few ingredients here. Boil some scrap veggies to get a flavorful veggie stock. You can use also replace the meat with vegan sausage which will basically act as the main chunky ingredient.
Add in some smoked paprika to achieve a hearty smoky flavor. Lastly, you can replace the oil from the bacon with olive oil to get an additional smooth flavor.
Go authentically southern by using seafood instead of meat. This seafood dirty rice recipe is super sustainable. You can use this Baked Shrimp recipe to make this dish. Don’t throw the head and tail of the shrimps just yet because you can use these to make seafood broth. This gives the rice a rich and flavorful finish.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
Hassle-free cooking? I got you covered. Although there will still be sautéing involved, trust me when I say that it will only be minimal. The role of the instant pot becomes a rice cooker in this sense. Now all you have to do is to wait for the beep sound.
Start by sautéing your chopped liver until it’s perfectly browned. Add in the onions, bell peppers, and other greens until they are softened. Place the rinsed white rice and stock in it and stir it with a wooden spoon. There shouldn’t be any brown bits stuck at the bottom. Close the lid and seal the valve then cook them on high pressure for about 6-minutes.
Storage and Making Ahead Instructions
The great part about this Cajun rice recipe is that it is moist and fluffy. However, this can also lead to short shelf life.
The average life span of this dish is about 5 to 6 days when stored in the fridge. Wait for it to cool down to at least room temperature to avoid excess moisture build-up. Check it every now and then, once you smell a foul odor from it, it’s best to throw it away immediately.
Getting a bit hungry? Instantly reheat this dish to satisfy your rumbling tummy. Place in a microwave-friendly container with a loose lid or just keep it slightly ajar. Microwave for about 4-7 minutes.
You can also opt to reheat this dish via stovetop. Simply place the rice on a pan in medium heat. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of water to loosen up any thickened starches so you’ll end up with a fluffy and loose dish. Stir it until it’s hot through and through.
- Give this dish an extra southern kick when you top it with Shrimp Etouffee. A thick and hearty roux should give you a hearty feeling in every spoonful.
- Cajun Whole Roast Chicken is also a good topping even if it’s just the leftovers.
- Or you can also go for this chunky and juicy Blackened Spatchcock Chicken. The bold flavors of the chicken go well with the mild spice of the rice.
- Of course, we can’t forget about the classic Southern Fried Chicken. The crunchiness also makes the whole pairing super sensational!
- If you really want a sensational and guilt-free meal, this melt-in-your-mouth Southern Fried Catfish is an insanely easy dish you can serve with our recipe today.
Other Rice Recipes You Can Enjoy
How to Make Cajun Rice
Rinse rice well and transfer to a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let it cook for 18 minutes. Set aside.
In a large, heavy sauté pan, sauté chopped bacon until cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Then add 2 tablespoons of the oil or more oil to the bacon pan. Throw in the onions, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic, sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken liver and ground beef, Creole seasoning, and cook, stirring, for about 5-7 minutes. Add bell peppers, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Pour in about 1 1/2 cup stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Finally, add the rice, mix thoroughly. Cook until the rice is heated through, about 5-7 minutes. If needed, add more stock, to prevent any burns. Do not overcook the rice. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the cooked bacon, and green onions. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve warm with pepper flakes for heat seekers and/or hot sauce. Enjoy!
Watch How To Make It
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Effortless One-Pan Cajun Rice
- 2 cups (370g) uncooked long-grain rice
- 3 ½ cup (829.5g) water or broth
- 2-3 pieces bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 teaspoons (15g-20g) garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons (2g) fresh thyme
- 2 pieces bay leaf
- ½ pound (226.8g) chicken liver, chopped
- 1 pound (453.59) ground beef
- 1 green small bell pepper, chopped
- 1 stick celery, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 ½ - 2 cups (360ml-480ml) beef stock
- 2 teaspoons (8g) Creole seasoning or more to taste
- 3-4 pieces green onion scallions, chopped
- ½ - 1 cup (125ml-250ml) chicken or beef broth
- 1-2 tablespoons (4g) parsley, chopped
- pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste
- Rinse rice well and transfer to a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid.
- Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let it cook for 18 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy sauté pan, sauté chopped bacon until cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
- Then add 2 tablespoons of the oil or more oil to the bacon pan.
- Throw in the onions, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic, sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken liver and ground beef, Creole seasoning, and cook, stirring, for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add bell peppers, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Pour in about 1 1/2 cup stock.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Finally, add the rice, mix thoroughly. Cook until the rice is heated through, about 5-7 minutes. If needed, add more stock, to prevent any burns. Do not overcook the rice. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf.
- Stir in the cooked bacon, and green onions. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
- Serve warm with pepper flakes for heat seekers and/or hot sauce. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes:
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. Please keep in mind that it is a rough estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary greatly based on the products used.