Last week, I wrote a column about learning how to cook collards correctly after serving underdone greens to Southern food experts Matt and Ted Lee.
In passing, I mentioned another dish that I made for the oyster roast with the Lee brothers: red rice.
Reader Carolyn Fitzgerald took me to task for not including the recipe. She wrote: It is too tempting sounding for you to have omitted it! Could you either send the recipe or put it in the newspaper? That would be a good accompaniment for several main dishes.
Youre right, Carolyn, so here it is.
From “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook,” by Matt and Ted Lee (W.W. Norton & Co., 2006).
3 ounces slab bacon or 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion, about 1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2-2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can whole Italian tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
HEAT oven to 425 degrees.
FRY bacon until firm and barely crisp in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a small bowl and reserve. Saute onion and garlic in the bacon fat over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant and slightly translucent. Add 2 cups broth and turn off heat.
PUREE tomatoes in a food processor or food mill. Stir in crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Stir to combine the ingredients.
BRING mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer vigorously until rice is tender but soupy, about 20 minutes. Add more broth, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the rice is not soupy.
TRANSFER skillet to the oven and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
SERVE rice in a bowl, garnished with reserved bacon.
Yield: About 5 cups.
Weigl: 919-829-4848; Twitter: @andreaweigl