Kathy Smith's red rice

Kathy Smith figured out that she could make red rice an entrée by adding sausage. “All you need to make a complete meal is a nice big salad,” she says. Provided/Kathy Smith

Kathy Smith first learned about red rice from Southern Living magazine, which she consulted for cooking instruction after relocating from the Northeast to Charlottesville, Va. But the recipe she used specified that “Savannah Red Rice” was a side dish.

Smith figured out that she could make red rice an entrée by adding sausage. “All you need to make a complete meal is a nice big salad,” she says.

“If you follow my recipe, it is pretty foolproof,” Smith promises.

Kathy Smith’s Main Dish Red Rice with Housemade Sausage

“If you’re feeling lazy, sub store-bought Italian sausage removed from casings, but it won’t be as good, I promise,” Smith says.

Ingredients

For the sausage:

1 pound lean ground pork

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground fennel (or crushed fennel seed)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

For the rice:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3-4 celery stalks, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup Carolina Gold rice

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained, or 2 cups fresh, local, in-season tomatoes, chopped and undrained

1 cup chicken broth or stock

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large, preferably oven-safe, skillet, cook ground pork over medium heat. After a few minutes, sprinkle the spices, salt and pepper evenly over the meat and stir. When meat is browned, remove to a plate.

Add olive oil to the same skillet. Saute the onion, celery and bell pepper, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice, tomatoes, chicken broth, parsley and reserved cooked sausage to skillet. Stir to combine. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake on middle rack in the oven for 30 minutes. If your skillet is not oven-proof, transfer combined ingredients to a 2-quart casserole and cover tightly before baking.

Remove rice from oven and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Remove cover and fluff gently with a fork before serving.

Editor’s note: Smith’s red rice is one of four competing in The Post and Courier food section’s recipe contest for a category crown. Over the course of a year, the newspaper will publish four reader-supplied recipes for each of 12 iconic Lowcountry dishes.

Featured recipes have been lightly edited to conform with the newspaper’s style, but they have not been tested: It’s up to readers to choose a winner. To weigh in on the red rice race, join us at bit.ly/PCFoodFBgroup.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.