by Ari Weinzweig
There are a million versions of this classic low country rice recipe. Like all simple dishes the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference in the way the finished food will taste. The Carolina Gold rice makes the recipe! I like the spiciness and full flavor of the Arkansas Peppered bacon but you can use other full flavored traditional bacons as well.
2 cups Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice
4 medium tomatoes
1/2 pound Arkansas peppered bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth (you will not end up using it all)
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash the rice in cold water three times, or until the water runs clear.
Halve the tomatoes and squeeze the juice into a medium bowl. You’ll want about 2 cups liquid for cooking the rice, so measure out the tomato juice and top it off with enough chicken broth to equal 2 cups total.
Chop the “juiced” tomatoes and set aside.
Fry the bacon in a heavy-bottomed stockpot over moderate heat until it’s crisp, about 15 minutes or so. Remove the bacon from the pot, and set it aside on a towel to drain.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the chopped onion to the pot. Sauté the onion, stirring occasionally, until it’s slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the broth and tomato juice to a boil in a medium-sized pan and reduce to a low simmer. If you’re working with unsalted broth, add 1 teaspoon salt.
When the onions are slightly caramelized, raise the heat a bit and add the rice and stir well. Sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is very hot and shiny.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the rice and cook another minute or so, stirring constantly.
Stir the simmering broth into the rice, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand covered for 15 minutes. (The rice will continue cooking in the steam, so no peaking!) Add a bit of salt and a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper, fluff with a fork and serve!