Arkansas Dirty Rice

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    to servings

Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Basically a specialty of the Louisiana and Mississippi bayous, dirty rice, which derives its name and color from the chicken livers and gizzards that provide its rich, earthy, utterly compelling flavor, can be found today in homes, cafés, and even some pretty snazzy restaurants from West Virginia to Alabama to Georgia. Generally, the meats in the rice are limited to the chicken parts, but one of the most memorable versions I’ve ever had, which also included a little pork sausage, was at a delightful roadside café near Stuttgart, Arkansas. (And people seem to forget not only that much of the nation’s rice is produced in the northwestern lowlands of Arkansas, but also that Arkansas is the home of the giant Tyson chicken empire.) Dirty rice is usually served as a side dish, but it also makes a great main course served with a salad and Scallion Corn Sticks.


  • ½ pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • ½ pound chicken livers, membrane removed
  • ½ pound chicken gizzards, membrane removed
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • cups chicken broth
  • cups long-grain rice


In a large, cast-iron skillet, break up the sausage, fry over moderate heat till thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes, drain on paper towels, and drain all but about 3 tablespoons of grease from the skillet. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet and stir over moderate heat about 3 minutes. Add the butter, livers, gizzards, thyme, oregano, and salt and pepper, stir well, and cook, stirring, till the meats are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth, return the heat to moderate, stir, and continue cooking about 8 minutes. Add the sausage and rice, stir, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook till the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.