Red Rice is unique to the coastal lands of South Carolina and Georgia. It is sometimes referred to in cookbooks as Gullah Red Rice, Savannah Rice, or Charleston Red Rice. According to historians, the recipe was brought over from Africa. It is definitely popular here in the Sea Islands. You can read about the exact location and history of the South Carolina Lowcountry here. My assistant gave me a Red Rice Recipe when I taught school in the mid 1990s. The recipe includes most of the same ingredients as the Spanish Rice made by my husband’s family from South Texas, but it is totally different in taste and texture.
Ingredients for Red Rice
- 1 cup long grain white rice (slightly precooked) or instant rice
- 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 pound turkey kielbasa
- 1 chopped onion
- 4 slices of crumbled bacon
- 2 teaspoons of bacon grease
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- oil or spray to grease the baking dish
- Some recipes include green peppers and hot sauce, so you can add those if desired.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray your baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Chop the onion and slice the sausage into 1/2” pieces.
If you’re using regular uncooked rice, you’ll need to partially cook it before adding it to the baking dish. If you have instant rice, skip this step. To partially cook 1 cup of regular long grain white rice, put the rice in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Place the saucepan on the stove on medium heat. Boil it for about five minutes or until it reaches the consistency of cream of wheat; creamy and watery rather than dry and stuck to the bottom of the pot. The goal is not to completely cook the rice but partially cook it so that your Red Rice is soft and not crunchy.
Pour the partially cooked rice into your baking dish. I used my fabulous 452221 Golden Honeysuckle Pyrex beauty for this historic recipe. Cover with tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth.
Stir and let the rice soak on the liquid while you’re completing the next step. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add onions and sausage and cook until brown. I began cooking my bacon in another skillet at the same time.
Add the onions and sausage to the rice mixture and stir. Pop it in the oven while the bacon is cooking and set the timer for 1 hour.
Oops, I almost forgot to add the 2 teaspoons of salt. I remembered just as I was closing the oven door.
When the bacon is finished cooking, add 2 teaspoons of bacon grease to the Red Rice and stir. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top. You should do this step before you begin baking, but I was in a hurry to finish dinner. I added the grease and bacon after the Red Rice was already in the oven.
Check the Red Rice after 45 minutes of cooking. Take a spoonful and let it cool. Try it. If the rice is still crunchy, cook it for another 15 minutes. If the rice is soft and most of the liquid is cooked away, take the dish out and let it cool. It’s ready to eat.
Wasn’t that easy? I hope you enjoyed my Red Rice Recipe tutorial!
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