Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cooking the Books: Mulatto Rice

For all my thoughts of The Savannah Cook Book's Mulatto Rice as "pantry food," I must confess I had no bacon in the house, no onions, and no rice.

The last one isn't quite true. I've heaps of arborio, and piles of sushi rice, and various bits of basmati and jasmine. That said, I had no long grain white rice.

I hopped over to my local Safeway and got my supplies, and headed home to make a mess of food.

I cooked the rice separately, because I wanted to save time, and also because I was highly suspicious of the recipe -- I didn't think there'd be enough liquid in a pint of tomatoes to cook a pint of rice, and frankly, I didn't want to stand over it, fretting and fussing and wondering if I should add water or stock until it was done.

I recommend this method, also recommend that you use stewed tomatoes if you do the "I'm in a hurry" method. Diced tomatoes hold on to their acidity if they're just warmed through, and the acidity is not a welcome companion here.

I used a whole 12 oz. package of bacon, and removed just a touch of the rendered fat. After I removed the bacon (to drain crisp on a paper towel lined plate), I chucked in the diced onion and saw the white white onion take up the little black specks, and thought again about the "touched by a tarbrush" idiom -- such things one can learn in one day.

You don't need to add salt or pepper -- the bacon and bacon fat bring all the seasoning to the dish.

It's simple. It's homey. It's tasty. It's definitely worth cooking up, and makes me curious about cooking more recipes from The Savannah Cook Book (even if the descriptions and recipe titles are cringingly racist).

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