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Born in the heart of rich rice country some 300 years ago, red rice remains a much-loved Savannah standard to this day. Simple as it appears, achieving the proper texture–neither gummy nor too dry–can be tricky. Long-grain rice is essential, as each grain should absorb the flavor-packed liquid while holding its shape. It can be cooked on the stovetop or, like this one, baked in the oven. I followed the method in Miriam Rubin’s wonderful little book, Tomatoes, from UNC Press’s Savor the South series, with great success. I especially like her suggestion of adding toasted pecans. Wanting to make this a hearty entrée, I went a step further and added shrimp. Once you master the basic method, you can take this classic in all sorts of directions. – Susan Puckett
Duane Nutter, executive chef, One Flew South, was eight years old when he and his mother left Morgan City, Louisiana—a town of 12,000 built on the petroleum and shrimping industries, about an hour’s drive west of New Orleans—for Seattle, Washington.
From "The New Southern Garden Cookbook" by Sheri Castle. The somewhat unusual combination of chicken, sweet potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, coconut, chutney, and curry has deep roots in the South, particularly in the Lowcountry, where there was ready access to imported spices and where expert cooks from many cultures stirred their own familiar ingredients into the pots.