I decided I wanted to make a variation on the dirty rice recipe I had been using from a copy of Cook's Country. I already fudge the recipe a little bit by leaving out the chicken livers. Even though I roast whole chickens almost every week, they don't all come with giblets anymore, and I would be the only person in the house that would appreciate the addition.
So, I had some mild Italian sausage I was planning on using. I noticed that it was chicken, not pork sausage. The original recipe uses ground pork. No big deal, I thought. I will stick to the recipe, otherwise, and I am sure it will turn out great. I had already decided to omit the seasonings in the recipe, some dried thyme and stuff, because the sausage was already delicately seasoned and we were all big fans of it.
I was browning the meat, and I started chopping up the onion. I used red onion instead of the usual yellow onion because that is what I had, and I wanted to use some of it for the salad. I went to the fridge to get the celery, and there was no celery. I also didn't have a close substitute for the bell pepper. I have used roasted red peppers and sweet mini peppers as substitutes, but I had neither. I desperately scrambled around in my fridge. Zucchini and spinach. What??
I ruled out the zucchini. I didn't know how it would affect the liquid ratio for the rice. I took the spinach and figured I could add it in and let it cook down, and it would barely make a difference. I threw it in after the onions were cooked through.
Next ingredient: chicken broth. One whiff of the carton in the fridge told me I needed a back up plan. Nope, of course there wasn't another one in the pantry. But, there was a carton of vegetable broth. Well, since I used chicken sausage in the recipe instead of pork, it would add chicken flavor to the broth. OK, vegetable broth it was.
Then time to add the rice. What?? I only had 3/4 of a cup of rice, and the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups. No. No no no no. I can't just throw in polenta and call it an even trade. I dug around and found another bag of rice. Whew! But, I was so flustered that I forgot the recipe called for removing the meat and vegetables from the pan and draining them while you cook the rice and broth in the pan with the browned bits. I dumped the rice and broth in with the meat and vegetables and then realized what I did. Oh well, too late. I covered the pan and hoped for the best.
Fifteen minutes later, I had beautiful, buttery , flavorful rice with yummy meat and soft veggies. It was delicious, and Picky and my roommate said it was better than the original recipe. Whaddya know.