Dirty Rice and Field Peas

Okay, to some of you, dirty rice smacks of disgust – picturing rice you scooped up off the floor and used again, right? And what the heck are field peas, anyway? I mean, how generic can a pea be, right?

But in south Louisiana, dirty rice gets its name from the fact that it is “dirtied” with chopped giblets, which also gives the rice a dark hue. This dish has another name – rice dressing.

Years ago, in search of something quick, easy, and different to feed the family, I came across this Cajun Dirty Rice made by Oak Grove Smokehouse in Prairieville, LA (where reader Steffi lives) southeast of Baton Rouge. Go ahead and read the interesting history behind why they started making and selling mixes for people who lived outside Cajun country to help them cook Cajun foods.

Well, this dish only takes about 30-45 minutes. It’s a one-pot item. And after it is done, we eat it under some kind of legume, Houma Indian style. Today, I used field peas , but you can use beans like baby limas, speckled butter beans, black-eyed peas, etc. These are basically legumes that make a little bit of “sauce” when cooked properly.

You will need:

There are several food plants in Louisiana that do a great job of cooking beans. Heck, I could do a whole post just about those companies one day. Any brand of canned will do, and I just doctor them up to make them more like my own. The way I do that is to put the peas/beans in a heavy pot, add about 1/2 cup of water and about one T bacon grease. I put the heat on low so I can cook the beans even more. I add some salt (if needed) and pepper. After about 10 minutes, using the back of a big spoon, I smash some of the peas to make a thick “pot liquor”. That is why I added extra water in the beginning. If they are too thick, add a little water. Too thin? Smash more peas!

To make the dirty rice, just follow the directions on the dirty rice mix package, which are quite simple.

dirty-rice-8-tomato-cucumberCucumbers and tomatoes are abundant right now, so I’m buying them regularly from road-side stands and markets. They make a wonderfully light side salad, garnished only with salt and pepper.

dirty-rice-9-cut-cukes-tomatoTheir light flavors go well with the savoriness of the dirty rice and peas.

dirty-rice-15-served-upI somehow failed to get a picture of the just the dirty rice mix alone so you could see how it looks. I guess it’s because everyone was so hungry, they started serving up before I had the time. I use a light pepper sauce (pictured in background) on top of my peas to add a little zing to the dish.

Dirty Rice and Field Peas

In south Louisiana, Dirty Rice gets its name from the fact that it is “dirtied” with chopped giblets, which also gives the rice a dark hue. This dish has another name – rice dressing.

Well, this dish only takes about 30-45 minutes. It’s a one-pot item. And after it is done, we eat it under some kind of legume, Houma Indian style. Today, I used field peas , but you can use beans like baby limas, speckled butter beans, black-eyed peas, etc. These are basically legumes that make a little bit of “sauce” when cooked properly.

  • 1 packet Oak Grove Smoke House Cajun Dirty Rice Mix
  • 2 1/2 Cups Liquid. (I used 1 can beef broth and 1/2 C water.)
  • 1 Pound bulk breakfast sausage or other ground meat. I used Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage (Regular flavor.)
  • 1 Can of your favorite field peas or other legume
  1. Mix can be prepared with 1 pound of any ground meat or combination of ground meat, giblets, or sausage.
  2. Pre-cook meat and drain off fat. Giblets will need to be finely chopped.
  3. Measure 2 1/2 cups of meat stock or water into heavy skillet or other suitable container. Bring liquid to a boil, stir in the rice mix and meat.
  4. Return mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat, stir, and cover.
  6. Simmer slowly for 25 minutes or bake in pre-heated oven at 400F for 35-50 minutes.
  7. Before serving, fluff mixture with a fork.
  8. For extra flavor, stir in 2 Tbsp chopped green onions.
  9. For ease in preparation, brown meat, combine all ingredients, and cook in an electric rice cooker. (And of course there is a microwave method.)

Bon apetit,


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  1. Oh my, set a plate for me BW! Just love dirty rice and field peas. Usually we plant pink-eyed purple hull peas every year to put up in the freezer. This year they just died in the garden cause it’s too hot and dry this season. Don’t know if the poor little cukes will make it or not.

    1. Everything is so dry here, too. The birds are eating my small, green unripened figs right off the tree. I guess they are doing it because they are thirsty? I just don’t know. This rice is really good with purple hulls, too!

        1. Peas and whole okra cooked down together….. My Mom would eat till she was sick. Maybe I will try the farmer’s market this weekend.

    2. Gather those crowders and shell them! You can then cook them just as you would any other dried pea/bean (Kidneys, Navy’s, Pintos etc.)!

  2. Oak Grove Smokehouse started out smoking meats then evolved to the dry mixes. I’m pretty sure their first was Jambalaya Mix. Unfortunately, they don’t smoke meats any longer. I used to love riding by …the aroma was wonderful! Some friends and I would go by after the holidays and buy their smoked turkey breast. They were wonderful AND reduced! Now I have to smoke my own. Mine is good, but not as good as theirs. D@#* need to wipe off the keyboard…I’m drooling too!

  3. Used to work with a Mr Wing from way the heck North Minnesota.
    Made Dirty Rice with chicken livers and special nameless parts of things.
    It was fabulous but his wife always split to a shopping mall for the day of..
    Hated the stuff the parts and prep. Cost him a bundle to make a batch.

    Never knew it was cajun til I visited Tony’s Seafood.

  4. You put dirty rice in a hog casing you can sell it on any corner as Boudin all day long!

    Loads of tomatoes and cucumbers right now. I do mine a little different, might be that Texas influence. While they are plentiful give this a try.

    Approx.( whatever you want that fits your bowl)
    2 tomatoes
    4 cucumbers
    1 big sweet onion

    Clean and slice ’em up put ’em in a bowl. Mix 1/4C sugar, 1/4C vinegar (I like either apple or red wine but any work), 1C water and pour over (add water to cover). Sit in the fridge over night and tomorrow they are all happy together! They are really good and I understand from a dietitian that they are good for you in the summer (something about vinegar and heat cramps). BTW, sliced squash goes good in it also.

    I always have this in the fridge in the summer, is good, its easy, its quick, and its good for you. I mean how many wins is that?

    1. Foamheart, I love those cukes and tomatoes with a bit of fresh basil and red onions. Yummy! And if you want to really get wild with them, grill a couple of ears of corn on your grill, slice off the kernels and toss them into the cuke/tomato/red onion mix along with a can of drained, well rinsed black beans. Omit the basil and add some chopped cilantro. That smokey, grilled corn makes this taste sooo good. I use a red wine dressing on them.

      BW, you and I cook canned beans alike. And I love field peas w/snaps. I bought a can just like you’re showing last Sunday just for me. I would have to pass on the rice though. I have tried it from mixes and home made and I simply can’t develop a taste for it. And I love giblets.

      1. YOU DON’T LIKE RICE? SAY WHAT? You would never survive down here. The first thing a bayou cook does around 10 a.m. is cook her rice–before she even knows what else she will cook to go with it!!! I forgive you, though! 🙂

        1. BW, No, I love rice!! I fix it with beef or chicken broth, parsley, dried onion flakes and a bit of butter just to snack on. But, dirty rice is something I can’t take. Don’t know why I don’t like it.

          1. Maybe it is the giblets you don’t care for? This recipe does not taste like that because of the breakfast sausage. The taste is wonderful so I have to wonder if you just don’t like meat in your rice? Do you eat jambalaya? Fried rice?

            1. I like jambalaya, fried rice, plain rice, sushi, spanish rice, etc. and I love giblets which I like to fry or boil to snack on. But, I don’t like dirty rice. It seems dry and sticks to my mouth. I have tried it many times and no luck with it.

    2. Hm. Reminds me of something my momma used to put together, sans the tomatoes, called “Danish Cucumbers”. And Blu is right. Dill goes well in there, too! Thanks for sharing this mixture with us! I’ll make some today.

      1. Danish cucumbers – my Mom used to make them. Hmmmm. With frikadeller and black-eyed peas, my favorite dinner. (Danish Mother and a Father from Mississippi – what do you expect? :-).

        When we used to visit my grandparents farm in Starkville, I used to sit on the porch for hours shelling peas. With narry a complaint!

        Tomorrow is New Years and I’ve got the Hoppin John fixings sitting here waiting! 🙂

        1. Welcome Oldnuke, and if I knew who you were and if you lived close by, I just might invite myself over for some o’that hoppin’ John! Down here, it’s smothered cabbage, (put a piece of cabbage in your wallet, replacing the old one from last year, for good fortune), black-eyed peas, rice, and cornbread. Somebody might also cook a pork roast if they’re feeling industrious! Happy New Year, and please come hang out anytime!

  5. Too much sugar. Fresh dill nice too. Maybe a yogurt dressing or sourcream.
    Blu had this for brunch today.

    Better rain as predicted here. Garden plots are raised and a lil dry as in finally. LOL.

    Are those the infamous cajun tomatoes?

  6. Been wondering how my Park’s Whoppers would do at Du. They never quit til frost gets them. Most like Celebrity die off August or July if really hot.

  7. Yummy!!!! I’m bringing stuff to make Indian Tacos one night when we are there but that looks so good I’m voting we skip it and just eat dirty rice. 🙂

  8. Not to much for the dirty rice but I love rice any other way. The tomato and cucumber we do with a little ranch dressing and salt and pepper and sometimes with a good Italian dressing just to change up. Got to make some tonight.