Creole cooking is sacred ground. I hear the voice of my husband telling me that Dirty Rice is what it is and Dirty Rice it shall remain, and any attempts to alter its recipe will not be tolerated. Yet, Bryant Terry, Chef-in-Residence at the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco has developed a savory and delicious vegan version using Millet, one of the ancient grains our ancestors ate that sustained them for millions of years. I invite you to give this recipe a try and make enough to last for a few days, that’s how good it tastes. I also recommend introducing it to your creole cousins with compassion and gentle encouragement.
1/2 C sliced dried porcini mushrooms
4 oz. Creminis mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
4 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 C boiling water
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. Extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ C each, finely diced yellow onion, diced green bell pepper, diced celery
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
¾ tsp. course sea salt
6 oz. Tempeh, crumbled
1 Tbs. Tamari
1 C Millet, soaked in water overnight and drained well
1 C vegetable stock (homemade or store bought)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. minced flat-leaf parsley
Put the Porcini in a small heatproof bowl and pour in the boiling water, making sure it covers them (you may need to weight the mushrooms with another small bowl). Let soak for 20 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the soaking liquid, and chop the porcini finely.
Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, cayenne and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add another tablespoon of the oil and the tempeh, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tempeh begins to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes.
Drizzle in the tamari and add the cremini, shiitakes, porcini, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Decrease the heat to medium and sauté until the mushrooms release their liquid and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to bowl
In the same sauté pan, toast the millet over medium heat, stirring often, until the millet starts to smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium sauce pan.
Stir in the stock, 1 cup of the reserved porcini mushroom liquid, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon, 1 teaspoon oil, and the tempeh mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately decrease the heat to low. Cover, and simmer, until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for 15 minutes.
Season to taste with black pepper and if desired, more salt.
Serve garnished with the parsley and drizzled with olive oil.
Thanks to @Bryant_Terry Afro-Vegan Cook Book.