Sausage Red Rice is a remarkably southern dish. It is common in the Southeastern coastal regions of the U.S. and sometimes referred to as Charleston Red Rice or Savannah Red Rice. When you add Bacon and Sausage, this comfort dish is a wonderful Friday Night Dinner! Your family and friends will be delighted by this Sausage Red Rice recipe. And, remember, Feel free to change it up and personalize it. There are lots of options with protein and vegetables here. I’ve added chopped chicken or cube steak to some of my servings in the past.
The Creole Culture: History of Sausage Red Rice
Only referred to as Red Rice in the coastal regions of the South, this dish was introduced to the U.S. due to slaves. These slaves were the descendants of West African people, called the Gullah. They lived mostly in the Lowcountry areas of Georgia and South Carolina. As a result, the recipes for Sausage Red Rice or “okra soup” were passed down through generations in the South. Today, it is considered a very traditional meal.
It’s fascinating to note that the Gullah language, named Geechee, was used to designate the type of English spoken by its people. Over the years, however, it’s known more formerly as Creole. Most noteworthy, this designation carries a very distinctive cultural identity. Thus, the spicy Sausage Red Rice is a Southern Creole imperative.
This recipe is as unique as the Creole culture itself. Instead of using water to cook the rice, we use crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce. This technique gives it an amazing flavor profile as well as its unique signature red color. Bacon, smoked pork sausage or chicken mixed with traditional vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and corn gives it the uniquely Southern and Creole properties. And, make no mistake about it, if you want to feel the authentic Sausage Red Rice experience, don’t shy away from spices like Cayenne Pepper and Cajun Seasoning. In fact, chop up some Jalapeno’s and add to your vegetable mix!
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 4 cups water
- 3 slices BACON
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 (16 ounce) package smoked spicy sausage, halved and sliced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, drained
- 1 (14 ounce) jar marinara sauce
- dried Italian seasoning to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until rice is tender and the water has been absorbed. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, and brown on each side.
- Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves and, green peppers to the skillet, and cook until soft, stirring frequently.
- Mix in the sausage, and cook until hot, then pour in the tomatoes. Cook just until heated through.
- Stir in the cooked rice and marinara sauce. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a large casserole dish, and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, then remove the lid, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove the Bay Leaves and Serve!