A spot-on imitation with bold flavor and easy preparation.
There are some restaurant dishes we fall so in love with that we can’t help but want to make them in our own kitchens so we can have them at a moment’s notice, any time we want. If you’ve had Popeye’s Cajun Rice, then you already know it’s one of those dishes. So well-spiced (but not spicy) and hearty enough to make a meal of, it’s humble comfort food that is easy to make and quite simply, just downright tasty. (And when you make it yourself, you get to control all the ingredients!)
What makes this Cajun Rice so much more than a side dish is that it’s also generous on the meat. There’s not just rice here – there’s also ground beef and chicken gizzards that are browned up with bell pepper and onion before being stirred in. If chicken gizzards aren’t normal fare for you, don’t fear – they add a rich flavor like dark meat and while they can be chewy, as long as you mince them up small, the texture only helps out this dish.
There’s no lack of seasoning going on here either. The meat and veggie mixture is adorned with garlic powder, celery seed, creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, and black pepper so that it’s layered and heavily spiced but not particularly spicy. (You can always up the cayenne pepper if you’d prefer it to be!)
Add a half cup of water and stir together the rice and the meat mixture and you’re good to go. This is an instance where you don’t want your rice to be particularly dry, so that extra liquid helps bind everything together and keep it nice and moist.
Cajun Rice is one of those dishes that stretches a few humble ingredients into an end result that’s both filling and comforting and Popeye’s version has such bold flavor that it’s hard not to want more as soon as you’re finished with your first helping. Luckily, it’s easy to replicate right in your own kitchen – economical, hearty, and as tasty as it gets!
Copycat Popeye's Cajun Rice
5m prep time
20m cook time
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup chicken gizzards, minced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
- 1/2 yellow onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon creole seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- Salt, to taste
- Rinse rice well and transfer to a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid.
- Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and let cook 20 minutes.
- While rice cooks, add oil, ground beef, chicken gizzards, bell pepper, and onion to a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook until beef is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in garlic powder, celery seed, creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Add 1/2 cup water and stir to combine.
- Add rice to veggie mixture and stir to combine. Serve, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Dinner Then Dessert.