Cook bacon slices in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
Sauté chopped onion in hot drippings in skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until tender.
Add tomato paste to skillet, stirring until mixture is smooth. Gradually stir in 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Stir in sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
Combine tomato mixture and 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice in top portion of a cooktop rice steamer. Stir in crumbled bacon. Add water to bottom of steamer, and bring to a boil over high heat. (We used 4 1/2 cups water, but amounts may vary with different steamers. Follow manufacturer's instructions.) Place the top of steamer over boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-high; cover and cook 1 hour or until rice is tender, stirring every 15 minutes.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used a 5 1/2-qt. Metro cooktop rice steamer.
Oven Method: Prepare recipe as directed through Step Stir 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice into tomato mixture in skillet, and bring to a boil. Stir in bacon pieces. Pour mixture into a lightly greased ovenproof Dutch oven; bake at 350° for 1 hour or until rice is tender.
Gracious Goodness Charleston