Tomato Rice Bake with Smoked Sausage
Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ cups basmati rice, rinsed 4 to 5 times in cold water and drained
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground coarse black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) package smoked sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a cast-iron skillet or sauté pan to medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet. When the bacon is cool, crumble it and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet with 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes, rice, water, lemon juice, crumbled bacon, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the same cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, pour in the rice mixture. Add the smoked sausage slices and top with bread crumbs. Dot the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter all over the bread crumbs.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the foil and broil 4 to 6 minutes to toast bread crumbs and crisp sausage.
For a vegetarian version of this dish, skip the bacon and sausage and substitute 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the bacon grease.
Recipe by Southern Cast Iron at