Gullah Geechee Home Cooking’s Chicken Perloo
Many of the one-pot rice dishes in the Lowcountry and the South can trace their origins back to West Africa. There’s jollof rice in West Africa and jambalaya in Louisiana. And here in the Lowcountry? We’ve got red rice and chicken perloo.
Chicken perloo has a lot of the same Western European and African cooking styles you find in dishes like Spanish paella and Ghanaian jollof rice. However, tender chicken, ambrosial stock, and perfectly fluffed rice make this a true Lowcountry dish.
This recipe is published in The What We Carry Issue of Life & Thyme Post, our exclusive newspaper for Life & Thyme members. Get your copy.
- 6 tbsp. (90 ml.) bacon grease or vegetable oil
- ½ lb. (225 g.) salt pork, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm.) chunks
- 1 cup (125 g.) roughly chopped onion
- 5 cups (1.2 L.) chicken broth
- 1 tsp. Nature’s Seasons
- 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1 lb. (455 g.) cooked chicken thighs, skin removed and roughly chopped
- 2 ½ cups (460 g.) long-grain white rice, unrinsed
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In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease or oil over high heat. Once the grease or oil is shimmering, add the salt pork and cook on high heat for 1 minute. Pour the remaining bacon grease or oil into the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the salt pork for about 5 minutes, until browned.
Once browned, remove the salt pork from the pot and set aside. Leave enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and fry for 1 minute. Return the cooked salt pork to the pot and cook the onion and salt pork together over low heat for about 5 minutes, until onion just darkens.
Add the broth, Nature’s Seasons, and poultry seasoning and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add the chicken. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the rice. Adjust the heat to medium-low and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes.
If using a steamer, transfer the rice mixture to the top of the steamer, cover and steam over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until done. If you’re using the regular pot, continue to cook the rice mixture on medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all of the broth. Once done, stir the rice with a fork and serve immediately.
Excerpt from the new book Gullah Geechee Homecooking: Recipes from The Matriarch of Edisto Island, by Emily Meggett, published by Abrams. Text © 2022 Emily Meggett. Photography by Clay Williams.