2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2 to 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can whole Italian tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat oven to 425 F.
Fry the bacon in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, until firm and barely crisp, about 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a small bowl. Set aside. Saute the onion and garlic in the bacon fat over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant and slightly translucent. Add 2 cups broth and turn off heat.
Puree the tomatoes in a food processor. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and pour puree into the skillet. Stir to combine.
Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer vigorously until the rice is tender but soupy, about 20 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of broth at a time if the rice is not soupy.
Transfer skillet or Dutch oven to the oven and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Serve rice in a bowl. Garnish with reserved bacon.
Makes 5 cups.
— From the award-winning "The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook," by Matt and Ted Lee (W.W. Norton, 2006).