Recently, I have been flipping through a few random cookbooks where I had recipes flagged. One such cookbook was done by a Top Chef contestant and is called Smoke and Pickles. It features an updated take on southern cooking, an area of cooking where I have not done much experimenting, but was eager to try. I found this recipe for braised bacon rice, and while I didn’t see a photo in the cookbook of the recipe, it looked yummy. I was also pleased because I had the opportunity to incorporate some more cayenne pepper into my cooking, something that this midwestern gal is sometimes apprehensive to do, to say the least.
I was delighted by this recipe. It had great flavor and with the hint of spiciness at the end of the dish. It was nice and creamy, almost comfort food-like, and in the heat of the summer, it was a great option for on the stovetop.
Braised Bacon Rice
8 oz slab bacon, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 1/2 c chopped onions
1 c chopped celery, plus 2 Tbsp chopped celery leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
4 c chicken stock
1/2 c tomato juice
1 c long-grain rice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook the bacon in a large pot over low heat until it has rendered most of its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, chopped celery, and the garlic and cook about 6 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning the bottom of the pan.
Add the mustard, cayenne, and paprika and stir, then add the chicken stock and tomato juice and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir, and lower the heat to a slow simmer. Let the rice cook, uncovered, for about 16 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Add the chopped celery leaves, butter, and salt and pepper to taste to the rice. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.