Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dirty Rice with Turkey Sausage

 When I was a kid, I was a very picky eater.  Not so much with veggies or grains, but with dairy and especially meat.  This meant that I didn't like much of what my mom served for dinner and I was often happy to just eat rice and veggies while everyone else ate the meat.  Without fail, I topped my rice with Messina's Cajun Creole Seasoning, which my dad brought home from a trip to New Orleans.  I just loved Messina's!  That was 17 years ago and while I'm now much less picky, I still love Messina's.  Lucky for me, my dad now lives in Louisiana so I can pick up jars of Messina's whenever I visit.

Now that my little story is out of the way, on to the recipe!  This is a thoroughly tweaked version of Christy Jordan's Dirty Rice over on Southern Plate.  Don't get me wrong- the original version is really good (if not authentic, since it's supposed to be made with chicken gizzards), but I'm not a fan of sausage and it turned out SO GREASY!  So the next time I decided to use ground turkey seasoned with spices you'd find in sausage.  Then the next time I figured out that you can just cook the rice in the skillet with the turkey, cutting down on dishes.  If you're in a hurry though, you can steam the rice in the chicken broth while you cook the peppers and turkey.  It's up to you!  Also, feel free to use fresh bell pepper and onion (one of each).  I went with frozen because it was $1.50 for a 12 oz bag and whole bell peppers were $3 apiece.

For the Cajun seasoning, you can use whichever you like, but how much you enjoy the finished dish will of course depend on how much you like the seasoning.  My husband likes Messina's, too, so we both really enjoy this dinner.  It's very yummy, easy, and pretty healthy to boot.  Perfect with a salad on the side!

Dirty Rice with Turkey Sausage

1 T olive oil
12 oz frozen onion and bell pepper strips
1 stalk celery, diced (optional)
1 1/4 lb extra lean ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t dried sage
1/2 t dried thyme
1 t dried parsley
3 C chicken broth
1 1/2 C uncooked rice
Cajun seasoning to taste

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high.  Saute onions, peppers, and celery until browned.  Remove to a bowl.  Add ground turkey to skillet and immediately sprinkle on the garlic and spices.  Use a spatula to break up the raw meat and to incorporate the spices.  When turkey has cooked fully, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add rice, stir well, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Let cook completely undisturbed (don't lift the lid!) for 20 minutes so the rice can steam properly.  When rice is cooked, add peppers back to the skillet and stir to combine, then add Cajun seasoning to taste (I use 1 1/2 t) and mix thoroughly before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

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