Monday, June 14, 2010

Southern Red Rice with Shrimp and Bacon

Similar to Spanish rice, red rice is a blend of vegetables, tomatoes, rice and of course for us along the Gulf Coast, our sweet, Gulf-fresh shrimp.

Southern Red Rice with Shrimp and Bacon

This is one of The Cajun's favorite rice dishes and it's really easy to make. It's a Carolina dish with a bit of my own Deep South flare and similar in some ways to our jambalaya with a touch of flavor akin to a Spanish rice. My version contains some of our familiar Deep South elements, like Creole seasoning, hot sauce, and what else but the Trinity of Deep South cooking, plus the addition of one of our favorite southern seasonings - bacon.

Some people prepare this dish stovetop, but I like the oven method, because to me it's a whole different texture and flavor level. But it's hot outside, so either way will work if you don't want to crank up the oven. You can also omit the shrimp if you like.

It's going to surprise a few of you that I'm not using my familiar and favorite Slap Ya Mama seasoning here. Well, I do actually keep a variety of Creole and Cajun seasonings in my pantry and one of my favorites is this Zatarain's Big & Zesty mix because, as you see here, it's a big flake seasoning, rather than a fine grind like Slap Ya Mama. It works really well here, but of course, use what you have, keeping in mind that if you're using a finer grind of seasoning, you'll probably want to use less.

Rather than stirring the shrimp into the rice near the end of cooking, I just give them a quick stir fry in oil and then toss them in some butter for extra richness, before spooning them over the red rice. Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Southern Red Rice with Shrimp and Bacon

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 5 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with chilies (like Rotel), undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2-1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Zatarain's Big & Zesty (big flake) Original Creole seasoning, or your favorite Cajun/Creole seasoning, or to taste
  • Couple dashes of hot pepper sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or to taste, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • Old Bay seasoning, to taste
  • 2 pounds of small, raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Lemon wedges for the table, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Use kitchen shears to cut bacon directly into a large Dutch oven and cook over medium high heat until slightly crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. To the rendered fat, add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook over medium heat until tender; add the garlic and cook another minute.

Stir in the tomatoes, with their liquid, and the sugar; bring to a boil. Add the rice and the chicken broth, return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the Creole seasoning, hot sauce, thyme and parsley, and the cooked bacon; stir. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir, cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Remove from oven and let stand covered. Heat canola in a skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with Old Bay, add to the hot oil and stir fry quickly, stirring constantly, just until shrimp turn pink and are no longer translucent. Add butter and toss. Fluff rice with a fork and toss with shrimp, or simply spoon red rice onto the plate and top each serving with a serving of shrimp, including some of the pan juices from the shrimp. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired and serve with lemon wedges.

Cook's Notes: May also use a 3.5 quart baking dish for baking. Spray with non-stick spray, prepare ingredients in a skillet, cover tightly with several and transfer to bake. I think the texture is better baked, however you may also cook this completely on the stovetop for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

For a Southwestern Flair: Add 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder.

Make it Mexican: Add one small hot chile, like a serrano or jalapeno, seeded, ribs removed, and finely chopped.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on June 14, 2010
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  1. Well, darn, I guess I can take the sticky note to enter the contest, off of my monitor! So, now you get to eat all the stuff??

  2. holy, moly, mary, i'm making this this weekend!

  3. You say shrimp, and I'm in. Love your suggestions for doing it up Southwest style. I always love a hit of smoky cumin. Stopping by from SITS!

  4. Oh my lord, that looks and sounds drop dead delicious, Mary. That kick of RoTel would be perfect in this.

  5. OMG I can see why this is your hubby's favorites! You know I love Ro*tel. In fact, I added a can, lime flavored, to my corn tonight!

  6. The shrimp look wonderful, Mary. I'm looking forward to seeing the Rotel recipes. I'm sure they'll all be great. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  7. I made this last night for supper, along w/a garden salad, it was most delicious Mary.

  8. Pam! I wish you would have entered, but at least maybe you can get a few ideas from the recipes that were submitted.

    Enjoy Annie!

    I hear ya thezest - we are shrimp lovers in this household for sure!

    Hope you try it Chris! I can see this on The Egg.

    Oooo Kathy, bet that corn was good.

    Mary there were some fantastic recipes submitted. Hope you check the finalists out and vote!

    Thanks Tracey!! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it. Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and share that. Means the world to me!! HUGS!!

  9. Can I substitute chicken stock with shrimp stock?

  10. Hi Jennifer, probably. Or veggie stock would probably work to keep it a little less strong.

  11. Mary, This looked so good that I almost made this yesterday. I got the bacon out and then realized that yesterday was Good Friday. D’oh!
    Instead I made a variation (sadly… without bacon). The family loved it. See, even the old pros can learn something. Thank you.
    BTW, I can’t get some of the spices that you recommend; and thank you for turning me on to Slap Ya’ Mama. I’d put that on my Wheaties. I found something called Ragin’ Cajun A/P Cajun Seasoning. It’s got a pretty decent kick but without the copious amounts of salt; like in Tony Chachere’s. Thanks again. Have a blessed Easter.

    1. Well, I may or may not have made a similar mistake myself Chris!! Of course, God know we are human and he also knows our hearts so I never have worried much over those things! I hope you had a wonderful Easter too - we sure did. The grandkids were appropriately sugared up and I swear here it is nearly midnight and I am STILL so full!!

  12. This is a lot of food, can you freeze it?

    1. Hi Tanisha! You can freeze it though I'd not freeze it with shrimp. Make those fresh. You can also halve the recipe.

  13. This is a lot of food, can you freeze some or how can it be modified to fit a family of four?

  14. Mary, I had never had Red Rice until I went to repass after funeral in SC earlier this week. After tasting it there I checked your blog and wa la . . .you have a recipe for it! I made this last night but was pressed for time to feed the hungry husband so tried the stovetop method. The flavor was awesome but the rice was sticky. Not sure why but may have been the brand of diced tomatoes. Will definitely try again using the oven method to see if it chimes out better. Thanks again for another awesome recipe! 😙

    1. Consistency is better to me in the oven. I'm guessing it might have just needed a bit more time. Sounds like it was a little wet still?


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