April 20, 2022

Charleston Red Rice

By Don Quattlebaum
Charleston Red Rice

Charleston Red Rice
Serves 8

Charleston Red Rice, a simple and comforting dish of baked rice and bacon steeped in rich tomato-ey broth, has a long and winding history. Recipes for the tomato-stained rice can likely be credited to the Lowcountry’s rice-growing slave trade, descendant from similar west African rice dishes such as Jollof and Thieboudienne. 

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces diced bacon
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup tomato paste 
2 cups Charleston Gold Rice
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 
  2. Rinse rice under cold running water for 1-2 minutes, or until water runs clear; drain. 
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add bacon and cook until fat has mostly rendered and edges are crispy, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Stir in onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. 
  5. Stir in cayenne, paprika, and tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Add rinsed rice and stir to coat thoroughly. Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  6. Carefully transfer mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until rice is tender and edges are lightly caramelized. Remove from oven and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Add parsley and fluff with a fork before serving. 

Recipe Image - Red Rice