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Dirty Rice
Isaac Toups' Drunken Shrimp + Dirty Rice
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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(17 rated)
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Dirty rice is as common at the Cajun table as mashed potatoes and gravy is elsewhere. It's the meatiest, richest rice dish you'll ever eat. It gets its color, its dirtiness, from glorious, glorious meat. The trick to this dish is getting a good char on the ground beef. I like to use ground sirloin, keeping it in a block and searing it like I would a steak before the meat is broken up and braised.

Technique tip: Just before you combine the meat mixture with the rice, you've basically got a dark roux chili. If you added some fresh tomato and cooked it down until it's nice and tight, you'd have a killer ragu for an incredible lasagna. You can make the meat part of the dirty rice ahead of time and freeze it for up to 6 weeks.

Swap option: Can use ground turkey instead of ground sirloin.


  • Meat

    • 1 pound lean ground sirloin
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/3 cup amber beer
  • Gravy

    • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1/3 cup amber beer
    • 1 cup chicken stock, plus more as needed
    • 2 cups Jasmine rice or any medium grain white rice, cooked
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 bunch green onions (green tops only), chopped
    • Kosher salt


For the meat:

1. Season the block of sirloin with 1 teaspoon of salt on each side.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke. Place the sirloin block in the skillet in one piece and let it sear until it really browns and caramelizes, 3-5 minutes. Then flip it and repeat, 3-5 minutes longer.

3. Once the block of sirloin is well seared, chop it up in the pan with a metal spatula to sear the inside bits. Add the black pepper, cumin, and cayenne and stir well. Cook for a minute. Add the beer to deglaze the pan, and cook 1 minute longer, scraping up any browned bits.

4. Remove from the heat and set aside. At this point, you could freeze the meat.

For the gravy:

1. In a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the oil and flour together, stirring frequently, to make a dark roux, about 45 minutes. Once it's the color of milk chocolate, add the onion, bell pepper and celery and stir together. Cook for a minute. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the beer and mix well. In 1/3-cup increments, add the stock, stirring well between each addition. Stir frequently, but not continuously, until you have a well emulsified gravy, thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

2. Once the gravy is done, add the cooked beef. Add a splash of stock to the meat pan to deglaze and add to the gravy and meat. Bring the meat and gravy mixture back to a bare simmer. Cover and cook for 1½ hours, or until the raw flour has all cooked out and the sauce has no chalky or floury flavor.

3. Add the cooked rice, butter and green onions to the meat gravy in the pot. Stir it all together over low heat, just to warm it all through. Add salt to taste and serve.

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Spice up dinner with Isaac Toups' drunken shrimp and dirty rice

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