Let’s be honest. From time to time, many of us throw weeknight dinners together with what we have on hand. It happens to me and I write a weekly column about getting dinner on the table in minutes, so supper recipes are almost always on my mind.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but, for me, it feels like a letdown. I prefer to anticipate dinner as a treat at the end of the day. I look forward to eating it with my husband as we catch up. And for that reason, I try to keep those bare-bones days to a minimum.
And it is why I’m always on the lookout for things like this Bacon and Egg Fried Rice that a colleague shared with me, saying, “I thought of you as soon as I saw this one.”
The recipe is from “The Dinner Plan” by Caroline Campion and Kathy Brennan (Abrams, 2017). The cookbook features 135 recipes designated as make-ahead, staggered, one-dish, extra-fast and pantry. This one hits all of those marks.
It comes together in about 30 minutes, and while the cookbook authors offer exact ingredients and amounts, for me, the recipe served as a reminder of how often I used to make fried rice with whatever I had on hand.
This recipe was like a little tap on the shoulder: Hey, remember me?
The dish takes liberties with familiar fried rice ingredients, but when I’m making variations on this theme at home, that’s what I do, too. I almost always have odds and ends of vegetables and meats.
After I made the Bacon and Egg Fried Rice as directed, on a subsequent night I celebrated rejoining the fried rice fan club by mincing a lonely serrano and slicing a quarter of a white onion and a yellow bell pepper I found in the crisper drawer. I added leftover peas, corn and rice. After those were nice and hot, I pushed the ingredients to one side of my large skillet, scrambled my eggs and tossed it all together.
I was done in minutes, delighted with the dish and I had eaten some food that might have gone to waste otherwise.
Cold rice actually works better than freshly made when preparing fried rice, so the next time I make a batch, I am going to cook extra on purpose, so I can continue my easy-eating streak.
The recipe is easily halved or doubled, as needed. It is fairly mild, so, if you desire, kick up the heat with a minced hot pepper or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
Storage notes: Leftovers can be covered tightly and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat in a microwave or place it in a saucepan over low heat, add a splash of water and cover to steam, stirring to break up any clumps until warm.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or another neutral oil, divided
- 4 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
- 8 ounces bacon (6 to 8 slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion (about 8 ounces), finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced, finely grated or minced
- 4 cups cold, cooked white or brown rice (See NOTES)
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted (optional)
- Fine sea salt
- Finely ground black pepper
- Chopped scallions, for serving (optional)
In a wok or large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the eggs and cook, turning them over while scraping the bottom of the pan and breaking them into medium chunks with a spatula until set, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a plate and cover them to keep warm.
Wipe the skillet clean and return it to medium-high heat. Add the remaining oil, bacon, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any clumps of bacon, until the onions are soft and the bacon fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat if the ingredients begin to burn.
Carefully tilt the pan and spoon off all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat (see NOTES). Add the rice and heat through, breaking up any chunks and mixing the rice with the bacon mixture, about 2 minutes.
Drizzle the soy sauce and sesame oil over the rice. Add the peas, if using, and the scrambled eggs and heat through, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
Taste, and season with the salt, pepper and additional soy sauce or sesame oil, as needed. Sprinkle with fresh chopped scallion, if using, and serve hot or at room temperature.
Notes: Do not skip the step of draining some of the bacon fat from the pan before adding the rice, otherwise the dish will be very oily. If you want to reduce the fat in the dish, cut down on the bacon or substitute turkey bacon.
If you don’t have cooked rice on hand, put the rice on the stove before you begin cooking the rest of the dish. The amount of uncooked rice you’ll need to yield 4 cups of cooked will vary depending on the chosen rice. For 4 cups of cooked long-grain white rice, rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Then, place 1 3/4 cups rice in a medium, lidded saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and stir to the coat rice. Add 3 cups of water, a pinch of salt, if desired, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
(Based on 6 servings)
Calories: 643; Total Fat: 52 g; Saturated Fat: 16 g; Cholesterol: 165 mg; Sodium: 284 mg; Carbohydrates: 34 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 2 g; Protein: 8 g.
Adapted from “The Dinner Plan” by Caroline Campion and Kathy Brennan (Abrams, 2017).
Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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