For me, like most people, weekends are precious things, absolutely essential for unwinding after a long work week. While I’m pretty flexible with how my weekends are spent, I do tend to have a playbook: Friday nights are for getting out and seeing friends; Saturdays are for exploring new neighborhoods, lazing about at coffee shops, spending quality time with my guy and my dog, and just generally being out of the house. Sundays are all about errands, cleaning and cooking – getting everything in order so that I’m not an absolute crazed person during the work week.
Last Sunday, the cleaning aspect of the day was particularly intense, as we are headed into a season of out-of-town guests. I spent much of the morning and afternoon steam-cleaning, sweeping and scrubbing the apartment. By the time dinnertime rolled around, I felt like dirtying up my gleaming, clean kitchen with something awesome. I dug out this recipe for a Louisiana staple with a wild twist, a collaboration between chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto.
- 6 tablespoons wild rice
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 8 oz chicken livers, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ¼ small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
- ½ yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 scallion, light green and white part only, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
First, I made the rice according to the package instructions, stopping just short to leave the rice just a tad underdone. Specifically, I cooked the wild rice in 3 cups of water for 40 minutes (package directions directed a 60-minute boil time), then threw in the long-grain white rice to boil for 10 more minutes (package directions directed a 15-minute boil time). I drained the grains into a colander and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking so that I didn’t end up with mush.
I heated a tablespoon in a large pot over medium heat and cooked the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers and garlic for about 10 minutes, until all the veggies were nice and soft.
Next, I minced up half the chicken livers and puréed the rest in my tiny food processor. It is not a pretty sight, minced/puréed liver. Also, it’s tricky to mince. But I love my offal, and wasn’t gonna let anything deter me. I added the minced liver and sautéed about 7 minutes, then added the puréed liver and cooked about 4 minutes more. I seasoned with the cayenne, salt and pepper, then transferred the entire (dirty!) mixture to a bowl.
I wiped out the pot, then returned it to medium heat with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the rice. I cooked about 5 minutes, then added the veggie/liver mixture back in with the chicken broth and cooked the rice was completely warmed through. To finish, I stirred in the butter, the scallions, and parsley.
I served it warm, heaped up on my plate. Now, this Cajun dish is maybe not for those who don’t like the taste of chicken liver (like Mark), but I really loved it – the bits of offal give the rice this really wonderful deep and rich flavor. It was a perfect end to my weekend: a clean apartment and a plate of dirty rice were just what I needed to buck up for another long week.