One Pot Brazilian ‘Dirty Rice’ with Chorizo and Lentils
This Brazilian Style Dirty Rice might be a far stretch from the authentic Creole dish. But it’s tasty, easy and made in one pot! And who doesn’t love that, especially on a busy weeknight?
If you’re familiar with Brazilian cuisine, you know we love our rice! We eat it daily, usually as a side, accompanied by beans, or as part of a more elaborated meal, like rice casseroles or our many versions of “dirty rice”.
These meals are often a great way to use leftover rice – and whatever else is in your fridge – too. My mom calls them Lavoisier dishes, because “Nothing is lost, everything is transformed!”. She’s a funny woman, my mom.
But the truth is this Brazilian style dirty rice is really easy to make. And, if you have leftover rice to use, then it’s pretty much a fast and furious way to get dinner on the table!
What is Dirty Rice?
Dirty rice is a traditional Cajun dish, often made with chicken livers and/or giblets, ground meat, onions, celery and bell peppers, and heavily spiced. It is most common in the Creole regions of southern Louisiana, but also found in other areas in the South, usually referenced as rice dressing.
Our version here is not spiced at all, as Brazilian cuisine is quite mild and relies mostly on onion and garlic! Also, in Brazil, this dish is commonly made with Calabresa sausage but, since that’s very hard to find in the US, I’m using chorizo instead. You can use Spanish chorizo – which is cured and spicy – or Argentinian – which is milder and fresh.
We also have a version called “Baião de Dois”, made with carne seca, bacon, black eyed peas and halloumi cheese. But that will be the subject of a future post! :)
Ingredients for Brazilian Dirty Rice
You won’t need a whole lot of ingredients to make this. Our list is quite short, but don’t be fooled. Once these guys come together, the results are amazing!
Here’s what you need:
- White rice – raw or cooked.
- Sausage – I use chorizo, but any sausage will do.
- Onions and garlic.
What type of lentils should I use?
Brown lentils – which are the most common variety – are what I use! They have a mild, earthy flavor and they hold their shape better than red lentils.
You can use canned or raw, but – if using raw – I recommend you cook them separately. Since the lentils take longer to cook, your rice will end up overcooked and mushy if you cook them together.
Serving Brazilian Dirty Rice
This dish is really a meal by itself! Sure you can serve it as a hefty side to chicken or beef, but its all-inclusive nature might make it difficult to pair with anything else.
I like to serve it as a main course, with a side of salad or collard greens. It is quite filling!
I confess I was a little hesitant to call this “dirty rice”. I know lots of people will run for the hills at the sound of it, because they hate chicken livers/giblets. But the good news is that there’s none of that here!
It’s a simple but delicious dish that will please the whole family, including the picky ones.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces chorizo sausage, diced or sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cup uncooked white rice (see notes if using cooked rice)
- 1 chicken bouillon
- 2 cups water
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- In a dutch oven or heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then, add the tomato and cook until softened.
- Add rice and sauté for two minutes. Pour in the water and add the chicken bouillon. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Fluff rice with a fork. Stir in the cooked lentils gently.
- Stir in the parsley and serve.
If using leftover (already cooked) rice, just add the rice at step 3 and skip the water and chicken bouillon. Let it cook briefly, to warm, and then stir the lentils and parsley.