Monday, February 1, 2021

Dirty Rice with Cajun Chicken (RIP Popeye's Cajun Rice)

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This weekend, Alexis and I made Cajun Chicken with our quick and easy dirty rice recipe.

We made it because we learned from Southern Living this weekend that Popeye's has discontinued their Dirty Rice, aka Cajun Rice. 

This has long been a personal favorite of mine, as well as Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza, which was also recently dropped from their menu. I mean, I don't eat much fast food anyway, but with these establishments dropping my favorites, I'm starting to take it a bit personally (haha). 

Fortunately, both of these dishes are easy to make at home, and I've had "sort of clone recipes" for years. Here is our version of Dirty Rice. It's not an exact clone; it is more an "inspired by" type thing. 

Dirty Rice recipe similar to Popeye's Cajun Rice

This version has a mild heat to it from the Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. If you can't tolerate much heat, then drop the Cajun Seasoning to 1/2 teaspoon. If you want more heat, use spicy sausage, increase the Slap Ya Mama, or swap jalapeno peppers for the green bell pepper.

You'll need to cook the rice in a covered pot, so use a large, lidded chef's pan or pot. I used my All-Clad Hard-Anodized 12" chef's pan, but I've also made this in a 3-quart pot as well.

Dirty Rice (aka Cajun Rice)

Published 02/01/2021

Hearty rice with sausage, peppers, onions, and a bit of a kick.


  • 8 ounces Wampler's Farm All-Natural Breakfast Sausage
  • 1 cup onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 green onion, julienne sliced for garnish


  1. Brown the sausage in a large chef's pan or pot over medium-high heat and then remove the sausage, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Finely chop the sausage.
  2. Saute the veggies. Add the green bell pepper and onion and saute them over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and Slap Ya Mama seasoning and cook for another minute.
  3. Cook the rice. Stir in the rice, salt, and red bell pepper, and stir until everything is well coated, about 1 minute.  Reduce heat, pour in the chicken stock, chopped sausage, cover, and bring to a low simmer. Let gently simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice tender, about 20-30 minutes. Rice typically takes 20 minutes, but I prefer to go at a lower temp and longer for this dish.
  4. Rest and serve.  Remove the pan from heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve topped with green onion.

Yield: 6 side servings or 2-3 entree servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Cook time: 00 hrs. 35 mins.

Total time: 45 mins.

Tags: rice, side dish, 

Mise en place for Dirty Rice Recipe like Popeyes
Traditionally, dirty rice was made with scraps like chicken livers and such. It looked like Popeye's used some type of bulk sausage, so that's what we have always used, Wampler's All Natural Sausage. I also use homemade chicken stock when I can. 

Break the sausage up with a spoon as it cooks. It is going to simmer in the rice for quite a while, so I like to cook it just until it starts to brown. Also, be sure to finely chop it after browning; you don't want big chunks in the rice.

Basically, I am treating this just like a pilaf. Toasting the rice in the remaining oil for a minute or two before boiling gives it complex flavors that boiling alone doesn't.

I patted the chicken breast dry, spritzed it with some oil, and seasoned it with about 1/2 teaspoon of Slap Ya Mama's. Then I fire-roasted it on the grill (indirect, not direct grilling) at 400°f until it reached an internal temperature of 165f.

The chicken was juicy and spicy, but the Dirty Rice is always the star of the show for us.

If you have leftovers by some miracle, put them into a stock-based soup for a heavenly Dirty Rice Soup.

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