Thursday, February 28, 2008

how 'bout a little bacon?

Because it’s still winter, g*d*it, as much as I want it to be spring. Might as well break out the bacon.

Edna Lewis’ Red Rice
  • 5 to 6 slices of BACON (center cut’s good for this one -- little bit lean; whole lot tasty)

  • 2/3 cup chopped onions

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 green pepper ick. no. roast a poblano chile. brown paper bag it while it cools. strip off the charred parts and pull out the seeds -- but do it through plastic somehow so you don’t get that chile fire under your fingernails. ick. no.

  • 2 small round hot peppers if you do this with a poblano (see above) you’re not going to need these

  • 2 cups fresh tomato puree (or canned romas pureed in a hurry. after all it’s still winter: where are you gonna find good fresh tomatoes?)

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 cups cold water

  • 2 cups Carolina or popcorn rice I used a fragrant basmati and it worked beautifully

  • 1 cup or more small pieces cooked ham or fish (I used some of the Virginia ham that my sister sent at Christmas time, half of which I kept frozen until now. Yum. but I'm thinking smoked trout might work well in this dish too.)

  • salt & fresh ground pepper (sea salt, of course. we’ve talked about this.)

Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and cook it up in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (I used a Creuset round oven which meant I didn’t have to transfer dishes later.) until crisp. Remove and set aside. Pour off half the bacon fat if you need to -- if you’re using that center-cut bacon you may not have a whole lot to work with, so save it all.

Add the onions, stir and simmer ‘til soft. Toss in the thyme and the poblanos, which by now you’ve sliced into little strips. Mix well and add the tomato puree and brown sugar. Add water and stir in the rice.

Cover and simmer on a low burner until the rice starts to cook -- add the bacon and ham. Stir it up good and set in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and cook for 45 to 60 minutes, until the rice is tender. (If you used a regular saucepan earlier you'll want to transfer it to some kind of casserole now.)

Serves 4, and doesn’t keep too well, so if you’re serving fewer make sure you’re really hungry. Dish is so tasty that overeating is readily induced.

Freely adopted from Edna Lewis’s cookbook: In Pursuit of Flavor, which I picked up a little while back at Monticello. It's loaded with classic Southern-style dishes -- simple, pure and good.

Image: That would be Francis Bacon, of course.


anniemcq said...

If you come to my house, I will make this for you. Or you can make it for me. Better yet, let's get Charley to make it, and we'll drink wine!

aija said...

Inspiring bacon for Sunday...


Bailey said...

Hello -
I am a filmmaker in Atlanta. I read your latest blog with the mention of Edna Lewis and her recipes.

I just wanted to let you know I produced a 21 minute documentary about Miss Edna Lewis and its viewable in its entirety on Internet at a Gourmet Magazine website:

and at a Georgia Public Broadcasting website:

My documentary is called Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie.

My website, has more information about the film and the story of Miss Lewis.

Bailey Barash

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