Tailgating in the South? If you don’t stop at Bojangles before heading to the stadium, somebody partying next to you surely has. Let’s face it — it’s a tasty Southern tradition. Crunchy Cajun fried chicken, fluffy to-die-for biscuits, excellent iced tea and a handful of sides make it a favorite stop on the way to the game.
My favorite side is Bojangles’ dirty rice, which is fluffy and has just enough spice and heat to be completely addictive. Sometimes that’s all I get (the large container of course.)
Since the closest Bojangles to me is not exactly convenient, I decided to try and duplicate its dirty rice recipe. After an exhaustive Internet search yielded no definitive copycat recipe, I decided to combine several I saw and came up with something reasonably close to the original and just as good.
This recipe will feed a crowd and in addition to tailgating, is perfect to serve at Easter with ham, Thanksgiving with turkey or other holiday gatherings. And if you have leftovers, no worry – it freezes well and can be reheated in the microwave (add a little bit of water as needed.)
Ingredients (8-12 servings)
- 2 cups long-grained white rice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound hot country sausage
- ½ cup sweet onion, diced small
- ½ cup green or red bell pepper, diced small
- ½ cup celery, diced small
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cook the rice according to the directions on the package, substituting the chicken stock for the water. Remove from heat and keep warm.
In a large ovenproof skillet, cook sausage until completely brown, breaking it into bite sized pieces.
Save one tablespoon of sausage grease. Drain sausage in a colander, set aside.
Heat sausage grease and add onions, bell peppers and celery, and sauté for several minutes.
Add the parsley, garlic, and seasonings and cook for a minute or so.
Return the sausage to the skillet and mix well.
Add the cooked rice to the sausage mixture and stir until well blended. Taste to see if your seasonings are okay – I needed to add some more Cajun seasoning at this point.
Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes to let the flavors intensify. Remove from oven and serve.
This goes great as a side dish to traditional tailgating favorites, like fried chicken and slaw.
Or serve as a hearty side to hickory smoked grilled pork chops with a nice green veggie, like this creamed spinach.
And if you don’t want to do any additional cooking, this is great in a big bowl by itself as well!