If you thought you loved rice before, get ready to fall in love with it all over again in this Buttered Bacon Crunch Rice version. Crispy golden browned bits of rice are stirred with regular fluffy white bits, savory bacon, and topped with a delightful pecan crunch. It’s a simple Southern side dish wonderland!
I don’t know why, but side dishes seem to be super hard for me.
I mean I know we have the traditional plain white rice, potatoes, etc. There’s steamed broccoli, string beans, etc.
So, I guess I should re-phrase that- anything but boring, plain, and ‘traditional’ sides escape me.
I grew up in a household filled every night with wonderful, savory Southern dishes. Roasted chickens were the regular.
Side dishes weren’t intended to be, or even supposed to be, the star of the meal- or a stand out at all. Literally, they were meant to be a compliment.
Shoot, if we were having white rice, that was just meant to be a conduit for the gravy.
Here I am though, finding myself decades later, in my own family kitchen and while my own kids still love a roast chicken, it seems kinda plain to us.
Even with all the bells and whistles, like biscuits and homemade gravy.
So I’ve made it my mission to up the ante in the side dish dept, starting with this Buttered Bacon Crunch Rice.
The special, extra yummy ‘crunch’ comes from the browned bits of bacon flavored rice on the bottom of the pan. Just like when you de-glaze and need to scrape up all those little morsels, you want the browned crusties in this dish too. Note, not burnt- browned.
A well seasoned cast iron skillet, and a bit of Southern flair are the key ingredients to this Buttered Bacon Crunch Rice. If white rice is a regular side dish at your dinner table, you’re gonna love this jazzed up version featuring crispy bits of golden brown rice, savory bacon, and crunchy pecan pieces.
Buttered Bacon Crunch Rice
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
- 2 tbsp butter, divided
- 8 slices thick cut bacon, diced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Cook the rice, according to package directions, until just before it's done. Drain and set aside.
- In a large cast iron skillet, over medium high heat, cook the bacon using tongs to flip as necessary. When cooked crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Add 1 tbsp each of the oil & butter to the still hot skillet. Stir in the onions, scraping up any bacon bits stuck to the bottom. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and continue stirring while the onions cook, just until softened. Stir in the garlic, cooking just until fragrant-about a minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onion mixture from the skillet, and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil & butter into the hot skillet, and let it heat up. When it's nice and hot, add half of the rice to the skillet and spread out to form an even layer. Spread half the onion mixture out over top, and repeat the layers. Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Spread a sheet of parchment paper out over the rice. Seal the skillet tightly with aluminum foil. Cook the rice roughly 30 minutes, or until the rice is lightly golden browned on the bottom. Using a firm spatula, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet and stir them into the rice. Stir in the bacon.
- Serve the rice topped with the pecans and enjoy!