Apologies for the long hiatus. No excuses – just everyday life crowding out everything else. Now the holidays are upon us. As the Tricentennial year winds down to an end, I remind ya’ll again that the Tricentennial really extends from 2017 thru 2022 (when N.O. becomes the capital of Louisiana, 1722). Two things to announce this time. (1) I have started a new blog, called the Classical Blog, wherein I will pontificate on a life spent among the “classics” – books, music, art, rockNroll, movies, etc. The 1718 blog will continue, information will be tossed out on the events of 1718 to 1722 and beyond as the early French history on la Nouvelle Orleans continues to develop. and (2) The books of The Petticoat Rebellion are being merged into one volume, now titled Madame Langlois’ Legacy. This gives us the opportunity to clean up Vol. 1 and blend in Vol. 2, reducing the repetition and further refining our recipes and sense of culinary history.
Meanwhile, I am offering a traditional holiday preparation of Louisiana Dirty Rice that has been passed down in my family for – literally – generations. It was included in the first volume back in 2014. It’s my Mama’s recipe just renamed to fit the narrative of the book.
Tante Marie’s Dirty Rice
My Family’s Noel Tradition, a Recipe of my Wonderful Aunt
from the Ardennes Forest
• The Holy Trinity – onions, green peppers, celery PLUS TWO – garlic and parsley
• 1 lb. ground pork
• giblets of one chicken
• salt, pepper, a soupçon of cayenne, any other seasoning you like
• 2 to 3 cups of rice (before cooking)
Since this is a dressing, use more of the Trinity than normal, say about 3 onions, 3 or 4 peppers, half to one whole bunch of celery, half to one whole head of garlic, a handful of parsley. The amount to use depends on how much dressing you want and the size of the vegetables. Chop the veggies finely and sauté (in butter or olive oil) in a large stew pot for about 5 to 10 minutes.
While they’re cooking, chop the giblets until they resemble ground meat. Place the giblets and the pork in the pot and fry them off in the vegetables. Fill the pot with water, add the seasonings and boil away all the water (this takes a couple or three hours).
Again, depending on the amount of dressing desired, cook 1, 2, or 3 cups of rice as you would for any normal dinner. Set aside. Usually 2 cups (before cooking) will suffice to balance the meat and vegetable flavors.
Watch the boiling pot carefully as the water level begins to disappear, do not let the dressing dry out completely. Remove from heat, and begin mixing in the rice one big spoon at a time. Correct the seasoning as you go. After two cups (before cooking) of rice have been added, you need to decide whether or not you need to add more. At this stage, you should have a good balance of rice to meat to vegetable flavors, season to taste. It’s good to eat now, as is, OR
The dressing can now be baked in separate baking dishes or stuffed into various birds or cuts of meat. Dirty Rice cooked in a bird will acquire extra flavoring from the juices of the fowl as it cooks.
Bring the dressing out in bowls or stuffed into the birds, place the birds and dressing on the serving board or the dinner table and have a most . . . JOYEAUX NOËL !