I thought the next dish in my exploration of the food of the southern states of the USA would be grits. But it's turning out to be tricky to get grits. I could substitute polenta but apparently grits really are quite different, so until I can get it (without paying an arm and a leg on Amazon), I'll look at some other dishes.
Paul and I both like liver. But he likes it done to the point of abuse: leathery and bitter. It's worse than how he likes his eggs cooked. I feel so horrible treating food with such disrespect that I don't cook liver for him very often. I kept thinking about dirty rice as a way for us to eat liver without having to cook it to leather. It seemed like good end-of-the-week comfort food, requiring a bit of preparation but not a lot of effort in the cooking.
I looked at a few recipes before branching out on my own. I wanted a lot more bits to less rice because we were having it as a whole meal, not as a side dish. Also, even though most recipes used cooked rice, they also then added a lot of chicken broth, which I thought would make it wetter than I wanted. They also cooked the chicken livers much harder than I wanted to, although Paul would have approved of that.
So this is my version of a Southern classic. Hertfordshire dirty rice.
Dirty Rice (serves 3 as a main)
1 cup rice, dry weight
3 sticks celery, diced
2 large onions, diced
2 green peppers, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
400g pork sausage meat
100g chorizo, diced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
250g chicken livers, pulsed in a food processor until finely diced
Hot sauce, to serve
Cook the rice however you do. Spread out onto a plate to cool.
Saute the celery, onion and peppers in a bit of vegetable oil until starting to soften, then add the garlic, chorizo and sausage meat. Brown the sausage meat well and season with the paprika and herbs.
Stir the rice through the sausage mixture, then add the chicken livers and cook until it changes from an alarmingly bloody mass to a steaming hot brown mess. Taste for seasoning and serve with a good slurp of hot sauce.