Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dessa's Dirty Rice with Jewel Melon

Well, I'll admit it. I love fresh food!
Doesn't everyone? Are you sure thats what you're getting?
If it doesn't come from a local farm, it may not be its freshest, but we do the best we can.

I picked up a jewel melon from a market not too long ago.
I was all set for some tasty cool mellon"ness" and was a bit disappointed.
This bad boy was sour for some reason. I don't mean sour, I mean it had a bitter aftertaste.
Not sure what happened. However!

If you were reared at the table of Mr. Patterson, (a former army sergeant and WWII veteran), you did not throw away food at home! So barring an actual toxin - like anthrax or cyanide for instance - you figured out what to do with it or else.

Aha!
I was hungry, had just cooked up some mild Italian sausage from Chapel Hill Creamery, and had leftover brown rice with no name on it. Time for some quick dirty rice!

Now I love Louisiana! New Orleans was always a favorite visit of mine. I can't claim authenticity on most dishes because frankly, I like to experiment with just about EVERYTHING and don't believe in following recipes to a "T" at home. The home kitchen is where our creativity begins. Most dirty rice recipes may be more wet, and use pan-fried giblets or livers, etc. Funny how we always used the cajun style spices growing up anyway...hmm. Nevertheless, this kicky little dish hit the spot!

Dessa's Dirty Rice

3 1/2 - 4 cups cooked brown rice
2 long links of mild flavored sausage chopped in chunks and previously browned
1 chopped green pepper (optional)
1 1/2-2 cups of spicy (preferably homemade) salsa like the one I listed in an earlier post
2 TB olive oil
2 TB of a cajun seasoning (i.e., 1 tsp each of oregano, thyme, paprika, garlic and onion powders, black pepper and cayenne)
1/2 tsp celery salt (some dirty rice recipes call for celery, I don't like crunching down on it or celery seed)
1 small jewel melon, cut into chunks, and
1 yellow onion chopped medium

First, you will have browned the chunks of sausage in your pan until done (on medium heat for approximately 10-12 mins), and scraped the pan up a little to loosen the lovely little pieces. Remove the sausage and drain.

Start by heating the olive oil on medium in your large skillet with the 'cracklins'... Add onion and when it begins to soften Add green peppers (if desired), and jewel melon. Stir, loosening and coloring with the pieces until they carmelize a bit, but don't overcook, about 5-7 mins. (I found the chunks of jalapeno in my salsa to do just fine for greenery, but. You may certainly add green pepper.) When the veggies are sufficiently soft, add salsa and stir, then add rice and sausage and combine thoroughly and heat through for 8-10 minutes max. Watch for sticking and add extra moisture if needed.

Add heat (spice) and salt to taste if desired.  The salsa added sweet and spicy flavors that went beautifully with the melon. Funny what a little kink in the rug can lead to! The flavor of the melon itself was nowhere to be found. Instead, the whole dish 'spoke' as a unit. It was also pretty darn hot, so I've bared down the spice a little here. I like a good kick in the tastebuds, but can't call myself a "flaming dame". You'll blow your nose after this if you do it right though!

Bon Appetit and 'Laissez les bon temps rouler'!
from Deelish!





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