This traditional Gullah dish is one of the special recipes that led chef and author Scotty Scott to rediscover his family history while researching his cookbook, Fix Me A Plate. Scott’s mother was raised in Savannah, Georgia, and the foods she grew up eating were fixtures on the family table. The chef adapted her version, swapping in smoked sausage for bacon, and enriching the cooking liquid with Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and tomato paste.
As part of the low country, the coastal region of Georgia and South Carolina between the two Jacksonvilles (not to be confused with the Low Country—the counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper in South Carolina), several traditional dishes from Savannah involve rice, which at one time was the dominant crop of the region. As is the case with many agricultural products associated with Soul food, enslaved Africans brought with them the knowledge of not only how to grow the ingredient, but also how to cook with it.
Scott’s mother cooked her red rice in a Pyrex glass pot. The recipe, always a family favorite, still reminds Scott of his mother placing that big dish on the table and removing the glass top to reveal a steaming hot, delicious pot of fluffy red rice.
- Non-stick baking spray
- 12 oz. smoked sausage, sliced into ½-in. rounds or 4 strips of bacon, coarsely chopped
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped (1½ cups)
- 1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1½ cups)
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 Tbsp.)
- Two 14.5-oz. cans stewed tomatoes
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. (2 cups) long-grain rice
- ½ cups thinly sliced scallion greens, for garnish