This Savannah red rice is very easy to make, and it bakes to perfection in the oven. Just briefly saute the peppers and onions, add the rice and sauce, and bake.
Rice was a major crop of the Lowcountry region until the end of the Civil War, and red rice was common along coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. The dish was brought to the US by enslaved Africans, and it resembles many African dishes
The rice is made with tomatoes, peppers, onion, rice, bacon, and other ingredients.
I used spicy red pepper tomatoes in the dish pictured and omitted the hot sauce.
The recipe can easily be halved to serve 4.
- 4 to 6 slices bacon, about 4 ounces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
- 2 (14.5 ounces each) cans tomatoes, pureéd
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 scant teaspoon sugar
- 3 or 4 drops Tabasco, or to taste
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Butter a 2 1/2 to 3-quart baking dish.
- In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp; remove the bacon to paper towels to drain; crumble and set aside.
- In the drippings, saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper until just tender. Add rice, the pureed tomatoes, crumbled bacon, and seasonings.
- Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer over the lowest heat for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake the rice for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Check the rice after about 30 minutes and add water, if necessary to keep the rice moist.
- Fluff with a fork before serving.
Serves 8 as a side dish.
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