Monday, May 16, 2011

A Southern Classic: Red Rice

On our recent trip to the Charleston/Mt. Pleasant, SC area, we consumed a lot of red rice. It's a traditional side dish around these parts. I've never attempted to make it before mainly because my husband has an inborn hatred of tomatoes to the point that, as a small child, he once took a stick and beat down his neighbor's tomato bushes. But, I noticed on our vacation that he ordered it everywhere we went. He's fine with tomato sauce in recipes, just not chunks of tomatoes. I thought it was high time that I learned to cook red rice.

Most of the time, I choose recipes to share here that I think I can pull off. That doesn't always work out and I've abandoned many recipes along the wayside. This was a recipe that ended up with a little glitch at the end, but I was able to "fix" it and wanted to share my trials and tribulations here with you. This recipe is from Martha Nesbit's Savannah Celebrations.

Red Rice

4 slices bacon, fried crisp, crumbled and reserved
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup raw rice
1 (14-oz.) can tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
16-oz kielbasa, sliced (optional)

In a large skillet, saute onion, bell pepper, and celery in 1 tablespoon bacon grease. Add rice, tomatoes, water, salt, cayenne, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well. Transfer to a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon. Serve hot, or at room temperature.

I put Eric to work as my sous chef. There's nothing the man loves more than chopping up vegetables. Here we have onions, green bell pepper, and celery.

I decided to add some sausage to make this a main dish. I cut up a 16-oz. kielbasa and browned it up a little. Then, I removed it from the pan and set aside until I was ready to put the dish in the oven.

After removing the sausage from the skillet, I added the bacon and cooked until crispy. I removed the bacon and set it aside to sprinkle on the rice after it was done.

I added the chopped vegetables to the bacon grease. Even though I used four strips of bacon like the recipe required, I didn't have quite enough oil so had to add a few drops of olive oil. I cooked until the vegetables were soft.

Then, I added the star of the show, the rice.

I had to make a slight adjustment here. Since my hubby will not tolerate chunks of tomatoes, I had to run these tomatoes through the food processor. I know, he's spoiled...

I added the rice, tomatoes (what's left of them), water, and spices to the sauted vegetables.

I stirred the sausages in and poured it all in a baking dish. I covered with foil and baked, as directed for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Now, here's where things went wrong for me. At the end of the baking time, I pulled the dish out of the oven and took a peek. The rice was still hard and grainy, in other words, raw. What should I do? I was scared that adding more liquid would make it gooey but I knew I couldn't tolerate crunchy rice. So, I stirred the mixture, replaced the foil, lowered the heat to 250 degrees, and cooked it for another 20 minutes. At the end of that time, all was well.

And, of course, the sprinkle of bacon at the end made the extra effort worth it. I think I've got my game plan for the next batch, lower the heat from the beginning and let the dish cook for a longer period of time, stirring at the half-way point.

The dish was delicious and we enjoyed it! Hope you'll give it a try, too.


Linked to:

Lark's Country Heart



  1. Yum! This looks so good! A recipe I'm definitely going to have to try! My oldest son was the same way about tomatoes..and peppers and onions. After he got married, my recipes changed! Now I'm able to add more flavor!

  2. This looks really tasty, Kim.

    I have a blog award for you. :-)

  3. Awww I didn't realize Joy gave you one too--that makes you double-d-delicious!

  4. Thanks everybody who's giving me a blog award. I've already started a "thank you" post that seems to get larger and larger. I'm hoping to get it finished soon. I'm fortunate to have met so many great "friends" through this blog.

  5. I will have to make this for sure!
    My hubby misses these!

    Thank you for linking up! :)

  6. I just wanted to say thanks for linking up on last week's Whisking Wednesdays. I feature you and gave you the #3 spot with this red rice recipe! My husband and I are both from South Carolina but are military so haven't been there in years and this reminded me of home! Would love for you to link up another recipe this week.

  7. While your recipe looks good, it's not the Red Rice that is served and made in homes here in Savannah. I have a much easier way to make it.


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