Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thanksgiving and "Dirty Rice"

by Fran McNabb

It’s November, but in some stores you’d think it was already Christmas. Shelves are lined with Christmas decorations and trees and toys.
But it’s still November so I wanted to spend my space here thinking about the holiday before Christmas. Thanksgiving is usually a pretty low-keyed holiday except for the cook in the family who has to come up with a menu for the meal, do the shopping and then the cooking. Most families have their own traditions so coming up with the menu is usually not that hard. When I had family close by, I usually did the cooking for everyone after my mother got too old to do it. I’d always say I was going to come up with something new. Never happened. I’d always do the same spread every year.

When I look back at those years, I realize how enjoyable they were, not just because we had a huge meal and way too many desserts, but because the family was together. Now that it’s just my husband and me in town, we travel to one of our sons to spend the holiday with his family. We try to continue some of our traditions, but I want them to create their own as well.
I wanted to share a favorite recipe from our family meals. Seldom did we have a traditional bread dressing with our meal. We usually had mashed potatoes and a rice dressing we called “dirty rice.” If you’ve been in the south Louisiana area, you may have heard of it. My father was Cajun so it was one our Sunday and holiday staples.  I’ll share the recipe below.
What were some of your favorite dishes at Thanksgiving? Do you ever include them in your books?

1 c. vegetable oil                                                                                                                                                  1/2 bell pepper, chopped                                                                                                                                      1 lb. ground meat                                                                                                                                                  1 stalk celery, chopped                                                                                                                                        1 lb. ground pork                                                                                                                                                     1 lg. cooking spoon roux (browned flour)                                                                                                          1 lb gizzards                                                                                                                                                           
1 T. Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce                                                                                                                1/2 t. cayenne pepper                                                                                                                                       1/2 c. green onions, chopped                                                                                                                          Salt and pepper to taste                                                                                                                                        5 c. cooked rice                                                                                                                                                       1 to 2 lg. onions, chopped

 Wash and grind or chop gizzards. Heat oil in large pot and add beef, pork and gizzards. Cook over medium heat until all meats are cooked. Add salt and pepper. Stir occasionally. Add vegetables and simmer until they are soft. Cover with water and cook down until mixture thickens. Add roux if mixture is too thin. Add browning sauce and cook about 1 hour. Add green onions. Cook about five minutes. Mix with cooked rice. TIP: Gravy, without the rice, can be frozen.        

FRAN MCNABB grew up along the Gulf Coast with a Cajun father and a Croatian mother. Fran writes traditional romance and sometimes mentions foods in her stories. Recently she published a cookbook COASTAL COOKING. Visit her at www.FranMcNabb.com or email her at mcnabbf@bellsouth.net        





  1. Hi Fran--
    Thank you for sharing your holiday traditions with us and your recipe. I agree the holidays spent with family are special. I have never used a recipe in a book before. But I enjoy it when I've seen other authors do it :-)
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    1. Thanks, Victoria. Even when we now have to travel to be with our family, I always take a container of the mix (not the rice) to finish for our holidays.

  2. Nice, Fran! We lived in Baton Rouge for a couple of years and your recipe for Dirty Rice brought back memories.

    1. If you lived in Baton Rouge you definitely know what dirty rice is. My father was Cajun and it and his other South Louisiana recipes were staples in our house. Thanks for stopping by.