I LOVE One-Pot cooking. The worst thing is finishing up a weeknight meal after a LONG day of work and having a pile of dishes beckoning from the sidelines. You can (A) leave said dishes until the morning knowing full well that once gunk is caked on your task will be magnified, or (B) get on with it, cursing the meal that created the mess and cursing yourself for making the meal and cursing the fact that it took you longer to clean up the meal than to eat it (okay, maybe that is slightly exaggerated). Enter: One-Pot cooking. Less mess=more free time. Hallelujah! As in this dish, cooking in one pot can also mean less prep and less standing at the stove time, which means even more free time. One-pot cooking is sounding better and better, huh?!
I heart everything New Orleans and everything rice, so it’s no wonder this dish ends up in my weeknight rotation. I generally try to keep dishes as authentic as possible, especially regional dishes; they’re popular for a reason. But I’ve never made an authentic N’awlens dirty rice that has pureed chicken livers as an ingredient. I don’t have a phobia of chicken livers and have eaten and loved the authentic version, but it just so happens that chicken livers never find their way onto my grocery list or into my cart. I don’t even know if you can buy them at the grocery store. And so my ignorance and inability to purchase chicken livers has resulted in a liverless dirty rice, and I certainly don’t mind. Sure, if you happen to have a chicken liver in your fridge, then, of course, by all means puree that bad boy up and get to dirtying up the rice. Supposedly, the name comes from the brownish, dirty appearance the liver gives the rice. Liverless, you say? Don’t worry. This version looks plenty dirty with the addition of Cajun spice blend. I associate dirty with char and all the good little bits that stick to the bottom of a pan, all those dirty bits of flavor, and if thinking in those terms, then this sorta dirty rice should really be called all sorts of dirty rice because it’s packed with flavor. The 11-spice Cajun spice blend alone is chock full of flavor. Add to that some bay leaves, the holy trinity- a mirepoix of onion, celery, and green peppers-smoky sausage, chicken broth, and pinto beans (another departure from the original but, hey, a protein to replace the liver), and it’s all sorts of dirty goodness. Packed with flavor, easy to make, easy clean-up, not to mention budget-friendly and kid-approved-It’s no wonder this dish finds itself in my weeknight rotation.