I confess to a love of Cajun food, not too spicy though, for my tummy’s sake! I love gumbo and jambalaya and try to make them each at least once or twice a year. But sometimes, you get too busy for the time and effort of a big scratch meal production. Like during the holidays. For a quick change up in the meal routine I made some New Orleans style dirty rice using a Zatarain’s mix.
Before you freak out about salt or gf issues in processed foods, I did use their reduced sodium version and it is clearly labeled gluten free. It still has quite a bit of sodium so I wouldn’t make this every week but in a pinch; darn sure I will use it again. The box says it is 6 servings but I think it is more like 4-5 as a main course.
Do like I did: jazz it up. I used a package of ¾ Italian sausage and ¼ hot sausage instead of the ground beef the recipe calls for. I added green pepper and onion too. Mission accomplished! Easy, tasty and gluten free. The meal trifecta at my house! But this recipe came with one added request: not too spicy. To tone down the hot I added an extra ¼ cup of brown rice and more water. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bit spicy but not really hot. You can leave out the extra rice and water if you want to breath a little fire. It is purely a matter of personal taste.
This is not one of those showstopper looking entrees but it has lots of flavor considering it is based on a box mix. Great weeknight supper choice; quick, easy and very tasty.
Angie’s Dirty Rice
1 box Zatarain’s Dirty Rice Mix, reduced sodium
1 pound mixed sausage; mostly Italian links and a couple hot ones, casing removed (could use loose sausage)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup quick cooking brown rice; Uncle Ben’s has some that cooks in 20 minutes
Directions: Heat half the oil in a ten inch deep fry pan, I used a cast iron one and add the sausage. I used a wooden spatula and chopped the meat up as it cooked. Once it is getting browned on both sides add the pepper and onion. Keep stirring so nothing burns and all cooks. Add the other tbsp. of oil, the rice and the rice packet from the box. Stir, add 3 cups hot water, cover. Heat to a boil, turn down to simmer and let cook on low for 25 minutes. Turn off and let stand 5 minutes before eating.
Notes: I think a red pepper might be nice variation in this recipe. I bet you could add another ¼ cup brown rice and another 1/3 cup water if you want it even milder and you will have more of the dish to enjoy. If you dislike brown rice, just use white rice but not instant rice; cooks too fast for this recipe.