Venison Dirty Rice

Dirty rice– the name alone makes you want to do a double take. Or maybe it's just me, because my husband tells me I always have my mind in the– oh, TMI.

If you've been following us since the beginning, you might remember a rice dish called "deer-ty rice." If not, here's the recipe to jog your memory; please excuse the sucky photography– we were just starting out!

Though that recipe was "deer-ty" rice, it definitely wasn't dirty rice. Dirty rice is a southern Cajun dish that requires offal, which we did not have at our disposal at the time. 

What is offal? Offal are the "wobbly bits" of an animal. The entrails– if you will– and for most people, that usually means the heart, liver, caul fat and gizzards. For other, more adventurous eaters, offal could also include questionable parts such as the lungs, stomach, tripe, kidneys and even the intestines of an animal.

You guessed it. Dirty rice is a recipe for po' folks. And to be completely honest and to give credit where it's due, it's a dish that is rooted in American slavery.

"Dirty Rice was a poor family’s cooking. While the slaughtered chicken went into the stew pot up in the plantation house, the slaves or the tenant farmers were left with the chicken guts, even the chicken feet. The Louisiana plantations planted rice in the bayou where it grew plentiful and cheap for the locals. 

"The original dirty rice was cooked chicken guts, the gizzard, heart, and kidneys, cooked in a pan. Afterward the cooked organ meats were chopped fine while the rice cooked in added water in the same pan. The two ingredients were seasoned with salt and pepper before serving. Dirty rice tastes good but the appeal loses some of its luster when considering what was being served in the better houses." (Source:

We like recipes that tell stories, whether good or bad. Despite dirty rice's sobering history and all the seemingly undesirable animal parts that might be in it, it is truly a delicious dish. 

Our venison dirty rice recipe only calls for ground venison and deer liver, a strong-tasting wild organ meat– a little goes a long way. There's just enough offal in it to give this dish a certain depth and meatiness that ground venison alone could not achieve, but also not so much that it would receive too much criticism from those easily-offended palates.

Along with its mouthwatering spiciness and the aromas of the holy trinity, dirty rice deserves an amen and a hallelujah.

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups of uncooked long-grain white rice (and required water)
- 3 ounces of deer liver, minced
- 1 pound of ground venison
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, separated
- Half a red bell pepper, ribs removed and diced
- Half a green bell pepper, ribs removed and diced
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 2 cups of chicken or game stock
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Lawry's Season Salt, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Scallions, freshly chopped  
- Hot sauce, optional 

1. Cook rice according to package directions and allow to cool completely (better if rice was made the day before and refrigerated). Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. When it begins to smoke, add the ground venison and minced deer liver, flattening the meat out onto the hot surface of the pan. Leave it alone to caramelize for a couple minutes, and then break it up into small pieces and stir to brown completely. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

3. In the same skillet, turn heat down to medium and add remaining oil. Add chopped onion, celery and peppers. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and sauté until all the "veggies" soften and become slightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in paprika, garlic powder, thyme and oregano. 

Add ½ cup of stock, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and then allow the liquids to boil and reduce away. 

4. Next, add the cooled rice and cooked meat mixture into the skillet, and stir well to combine. Stir in remaining stock and allow moisture to evaporate, stirring frequently. 

Stir in butter until melted. Season to taste with Lawry's Season Salt, cayenne pepper and freshly cracked pepper. 

Garnish with chopped green onion. Serve with a vinegary hot sauce on the side for a bit of spicy tang.


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