Traditionally, what makes Creole “dirty rice” dirty is the addition of fowl gizzards. Um, no thanks. Chopped eggplant, a Louisiana crop, takes its place in this super-satisfying veggie version. Not spicy in itself, but you can make it that way. That’s what Tabasco is for. Recipe contributed by Ellen Kanner. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
- 1½ cups long-grain brown rice
- 32-ounce container low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, stemmed and diced
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- 1 green pepper, finely diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
- 1 handful fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Juice of ½ to 1 lemon, to taste
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- Tabasco or other hot sauce for passing around
- Pour 3 cups of the broth into a large saucepan. Place over high heat and bring liquid to boil. Add rice and bay leaf and give a quick stir. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaf and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and eggplant. Sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables soften a bit.
- Add the celery, green pepper, tomato, paprika, and thyme. Continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not overdone.
- Stir in the cooked rice and remaining cup of broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. The mixture should still be a bit moist, so if need be, add ½ to 1 cup water and allow to absorb a bit.
- Stir in salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley.
- Serve at once; pass around Tabasco for spicing up individual servings. Keeps several days in the fridge, flavor improves over time.
Variation: For a bright pop of color and protein, add 1 cup or more cooked edamame or green peas when adding the last ingredients.
- For more ways to use brown rice, explore Classic Rice Dishes.
- Here are more Creole classics, veg style.
Ellen Kanner writes the Meatless Monday column for The Huffingon Post and is the Edgy Veggie, a syndicated column.