Charleston Red Rice is a dish commonly found along the Southeastern coastal region of South Carolina, which also known as the Low Country, and the dish is usually referred to simply as “red rice” by the locals.
This traditional meal is thought to have been brought over to the U.S. from the West Coast of Africa. This cultural food type is almost always synonymous with the Gullah cuisine. The main component of the dish traditionally consists of the white rice with crushed tomatoes and small bits of bacon, celery, bell peppers, and onions are the traditional vegetables used for seasoning the dish although I did not use celery today in this preparation.
Today we are using our Charleston Red Rice Recipe as the base for a seafood paella dish which my family adores. Not too dissimilar from the Spanish version, this dish is flavorful and filling.
Charleston Red Rice Paella
- 4 strips bacon, chopped
- 1/3 cup green peppers, diced
- 1-15oz can tomato sauce
- 1-15oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup uncooked long grain rice, white or brown
- 1/2 cup onions, diced
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb peeled shrimp, raw, any type, peeled and shelled
- 1 lb fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
- 1 lb fresh clams, cleaned of sand
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon Lemon, cut into wedges
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat, saute the bacon pieces, onions, and green peppers until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Next, add water, tomato sauce, brown sugar and salt to the pan and bring it to a boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, add the rice then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
- At this point, the rice will not yet be tender but you will add all the seafood into the skillet and stir. Replace the lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the mussels have opened and the shrimp have changed color and are cooked.
- Before serving, discard any mussels or clams that have not opened.
- Adjust the seasonings to taste with salt, pepper or even cayenne pepper.
- Recommend serving with lemon wedges and a tossed green salad.