I was a wee one when I had my first taste of dirty rice, and it was from Popeye’s. Something about the deep savoriness of this mean little concoction made it one of my favorite Cajun dishes. (For a quick lesson on the difference between Cajun and Creole food, visit my entry on crawfish boils.) And then I found out years later that offal is what makes dirty rice taste so damn good. Who knew? A recent food trend is food that used to be considered less palatable, I.e. Food the lower socioeconomic levels partook in. Think the leftover parts of an animal—offal—such as livers, gizzards, oxtail, feet, snout, ears. For vegetables, think collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and so on. And so with this trend, we see a rise in these sorts of ingredients becoming gourmet. And with the gourmet status comes the hefty price tag. So what can you do? Learn to make it yourself.

A handful of friends from my Creative Writing Program at UH recently graduated. And while they were becoming Masters of Fine Arts, I was off trying to become a MasterChef. Alas, I am sad to see some of my bestest writer buds move away on to bigger and better things, but I cherish the past four years we’ve had together. There were many discussions about literature, the writing craft, existentialism, and just about any possible subject under the sun and even beyond. (Because, you know, us writers are just so deep.) So as a farewell/graduation/appreciation celebration, I wanted to share myself and cook a meal for them. After all, they spent the last four painful years reading pages and pages of my manuscripts; the least I could do is finally give them something good to ingest.

I know the basic gist of dirty rice involves poultry offal—namely livers and gizzards—the trinity (two parts onion to one part celery and one part bell pepper); and rice. My next door neighbor, who makes a bad-ass dirty rice every year for our day-after-Thanksgiving leftovers potluck, promised to cook it with me one day, but I figured I’d try on my own first before I learn his secrets and then meld all of it together into one superpower dirty rice.

So here you have my first run at dirty rice. Yeah, I was brave to experiment on my friends, but I know they love me enough to still be my friend even if the food tasted bad. Luckily, the dirty rice was pretty darn good. And it tastes even better if you let the flavors melt together overnight. I used this to stuff some slutty chickens (as Chef Ramsay calls them)—more on that next time. Till then, make a vat and share; it’s an easy recipe for a crowd. If the Blind can Cook it, you can too.

Dirty Rice


  1. 1 lb. chicken gizzards, washed & rinsed
  2. 1 lb. chicken livers, washed, rinsed & trimmed
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 c. chopped onion
  5. 1/2 c. chopped celery
  6. 1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
  7. 4 c. chicken broth
  8. 4 c. uncooked Minute rice
  9. 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  10. cayenne pepper to taste
  11. salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cook the minute rice according to package directions using chicken broth instead of water.
  2. Pulse the gizzards in a food processor until crumb-sized. Set aside. Then pulse liver until almost liquified.
  3. In a lg. Skillet, sauté the garlic until fragrant. Cook the meats until browned.
  4. Add the vegetables and salt & pepper, and cook until tender. If the mixture is too wet, let it reduce.
  5. Gently fold in the rice. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

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23 Discussion to this post

  1. Tran Trung says:

    Chào b¡n! Hôm nay Íc trên måc tin téc tôi mÛi bi¿t b¡n tham gia ch°¡ng trình MasterChef và °ãc nh­n xét là ng°Ýi có kh©u vË tinh t¿. Tôi càng vui khi b¡n trình làng món cá kho tÙ viÇt nam. Tôi r¥t ng°áng mÙ b¡n! Dù không bi¿t cuÙc sÑng Ýi th°Ýng cça b¡n có °ãc nhiÁu niÁm vui có ç khÏa l¥p i khi¿m khuy¿t ôi m¯t. Nh°ng tôi s½ luôn c§u nguyÇn cho b¡n và t¥t c£ mÍi ng°Ýi Áu tìm °ãc h¡nh phúc bên c¡nh nhïng ng°Ýi thân.Chào bạn! Hôm nay đọc trên mục tin tức tôi mới biết bạn tham gia chương trình MasterChef và được nhận xét là người có khẩu vị tinh tế. Tôi càng vui khi bạn trình làng món cá kho tộ việt nam. Tôi rất ngưỡng mộ bạn! Dù không biết cuộc sống đời thường của bạn có được nhiều niềm vui có đủ khỏa lấp đi khiếm khuyết đôi mắt. Nhưng tôi sẽ luôn cầu nguyện cho bạn và tất cả mọi người đều tìm được hạnh phúc bên cạnh những người thân.

  2. Tram Ly says:

    Hi Christine. I definitely wound try your recipe!!! And good luck on Master Chef!!!

  3. Khánh Duy says:

    Hello Christine Ha. She was a 15 year old Vietnam. But I enjoyed the show as Master Cheef and honor when you have to cook delicious dishes of Vietnam. You kingdom destiny lightly. Make your dream and try to succeed in your Master Cheef slightly.
    Thank you much!

  4. Khánh Duy says:

    Hello Christine Ha. She was a 15 year old Vietnam. But I enjoyed the show as Master Cheef and honor when you have to cook delicious dishes of Vietnam. You kingdom destiny lightly. Make your dream and try to succeed in your Master Cheef slightly.

  5. hoangh hiep says:

    xin lỗi ! tôi không thể nói tiếng Anh được chắc chị có thể đọc được qua bài báo về chị tôi rất khân phục sự cố gắng của chị vượt lên mọi khó khăn chị đã làm cho cả thế giới thấy tài năng và sự cố gắng không ngừng của con người Việt Nam. tkanks !

  6. James Myrick says:

    You are sooo sexy and a great cook. Best of luck on MC..Pulln for ya

  7. Madhu says:

    Ji Christine, I tried this over the weekend. I don’t know why, the rice became way too mushy in the end. It was more like kinda cheesy rice texture (risssoto kinda thing). I am not sure where I went wrong as I follows the recipe to the T 🙁

    The taste was good though. I guess I can try again next time and see.

  8. I am so going to try this! I love chicken livers and had no idea they are typically used in dirty rice. Thanks for sharing and you've got some big fans here in New Jersey cheering you on right now on MasterChef…even my partner who normally can't stand watching my favorite "reality" cooking shows with me! He watches just because he wants to see you win.

  9. Madhu says:

    I didn’t know you were in Mastr chef! Came to this website through google search for mashed purple potatoes 🙂 you go girl! I am gonna watch this show from now on 🙂


  10. Lan | says:

    this looks wonderful! i had no idea no idea that dirty rice had offal in it. i'm assuming popeye's isn't authentic tho? in lieu of using Minute Rice, would just day old jasmine rice be ok?

    • Christine Ha says:

      Offal is what makes dirty rice taste so good. Jasmine rice has an exotic fragrance that I think would make the dirty rice taste different but, hey, just try it. You can only become a better cook if you experiment.

  11. That looks delicious but we don't have Cayenne Peppers in my country. What pepper will I use instead of Cayenne Peppers? I think I should do some crazy experiments. Anyways. It's more fun in the Philippines.

  12. Dave Darwin says:

    What pepper will I use instead of Cayenne Peppers?

  13. Francisca Ijalana says:

    I watch you on Great day Houston today and you are great! I need the lemon-chicken recipee because I have lemongrass in my yard. Thank you in advance.

    • Christine Ha says:

      I believe you can find the recipe on the “Great Day Houston” website if it's not already on my blog. Let me know if you can't find it, and I'll post it. 🙂 Thanks for watching and supporting.

  14. Michael says:

    Congratulations on your victory, Master Chef. My wife and I one day accidentally saw you on television and became enthralled. We watched the rest of the series as television highlights of the week and I began praying you would win. You are a charming, inspirational person and clearly, watching the judges, an incomparable cook. I don't really pay attention to food because my wife's is fine enough – delicious actually – but I am waiting for your cookbook to be written so I can purchase it for her. I am definitely going to be your customer and buy it. Best in all things, and may you end in long happiness.

  15. Tiffany Wang says:

    I just made this and it turned out amazingly well. Whole foods did not sell gizzards and I got raised eyebrows from the butchers, but luckily they had liver so I didn't include the gizzards in my version. I also mistakenly bought paprika instead of cayenne so I added that with a dash of cumin instead. Phenomenal. I grew up on Taiwanese and Japanese cuisine and chicken liver is not a stranger to either, so I definitely found the flavor to be comforting. But I was surprised at how the holy trinity brought out the sweetness of the liver without any of the off-putting flavors and texture liver can have when cooked whole. And the flavors just seep into the rice oh so lightly and beautifully. So yummy! I can't wait to get your cook book. I would love to try a hand at making your winning pork belly, pho, braised catfish and tom yum soup. Congrats!

  16. Christine Ha says:

    Thanks for the tip.

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