Tomatoes and Rice is an old fashioned, classic Southern family favorite side dish. Sweet onion is sautéed in bacon grease before adding Basmati rice and fresh or canned tomatoes.
I don’t know the origin of this dish. It goes back to my great-grandmother, at least, and perhaps farther back than that. Granny and Mama cooked it quite a bit. They’d use canned stewed tomatoes but I prefer to used plain diced tomatoes and cook down onions in bacon grease.
So, the dish is Tomatoes and Rice.
Not Spanish Rice.
Not Red Rice.
Not Rice with Tomatoes.
In my family it’s known as Tomatoes and Rice. That’s the way it will stay.
Fresh tomatoes vs canned
Canned tomatoes are a pantry staple for me. I always have them, I don’t always have fresh tomatoes. There’s lots of good commercially prepared canned tomatoes. I’m not the least bit ashamed to used canned over fresh.
Besides, if we’ve got a good fresh ripe tomato, we’ll slice it and eat it raw and save canned tomatoes for cooking. The exception to that rule is if we’ve got a bumper crop of tomatoes from our kitchen garden and I need to use them before they spoil.
Basmati rice vs other varieties
Basmati rice is our preferred rice. It’s a long grain white rice that has a subtle buttery popcorn flavor. It’s about the only rice I buy. You can substitute your favorite long grain variety. I haven’t tested this recipe with brown rice so I’m not able to give any guidance regarding it.
If you eat white rice, do yourself a favor and try Basmati.
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Tomatoes and Rice
- covered skillet
- 3 - 4 slices bacon
- 1 medium sweet onion chopped
- 1 cup long grain Basmati rice
- 1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes with the juice
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Reserve one tablespoon bacon grease in the skillet.
- Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add rice and stir well.
- Add tomatoes, and their juice, water, salt and pepper to pan. Stir until mixed.
- Keep the pan and cook on medium heat until the water cooks below the surface level of the tomatoes and rice. Remove the cover and check the level of water several times during the cook process. You'll see holes in the rice. No need to stir just yet.
- Keep covered and remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork before serving.
- Garnish with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped tomato.
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