A popular side dish in the Lowcountry coastal region of South Carolina and Georgia, red rice gets its signature color from tomatoes. We hoped to pare down this hearty classic without sacrificing flavor.
Why This Recipe Works
Our first step was to eliminate the meat and bacon fat altogether from our version of Red Rice. We followed the test kitchen’s method for rice pilaf: Soften the vegetables and toast the rice in some oil (to add flavor and ensure distinct, tender rice) before adding a combination of crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. The rice was fluffy, but the crushed tomatoes might as well have been red dye for all the flavor they added. For more concentrated tomato flavor, we added tomato paste. Just a tablespoon quickly sautéed with the vegetables provided deep tomato flavor—and color.
For the finishing touches, a bit of cayenne pepper added welcome heat and a handful of chopped fresh parsley brightened up the dish.