Monday, November 22, 2010

Lusty Spanish Rice Sauté

I admit that sometimes I am not really interested in the ceremony of eating.  It's true, although I know it may come as a shock.  I love to cook and I believe that life is too short to eat food that isn't worthy.  I have been known to drive miles out of my way or suffer an extra 30 minutes of intense hunger, in search of something that tastes great.  So, when I am hungry but tired or short on time but hungry, I have a "go to" repertoire of really simple recipes that taste great and qualify as dinner if eaten by itself.  (mission accomplished).  This sauté of rice can be customized with any ingredients you have on hand or love.  I also like the fact that I can flavor this with some meat, but the meat is not the star of this show (good for two girls trying to be healthful).  I typically have onions, carrots and celery (great start to any sauté, in my opinion), as well as some canned artichoke hearts (which are perfectly acceptable for these purposes) and frozen peas.  Spicy Chorizo sausage, the real Spanish kind also often shacks up in my cheese drawer (perfect!).  I threw this together rather quickly tonight for Ella and I, as we both had work to do.  The combination of flavors (garlic, onion, artichoke, saffron and Pimentón de la Vera or Spanish Paprika) tasted so Spanish and so lusty.  I only wish I had thrown in a handful of frozen peas or some cilantro!


 Sauté of rice w/ chorizo, artichoke and saffron
  • 1 cup white rice (I use Carolina brand)
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 inch slice of chorizo, cut in a small dice
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 4 or 5 artichoke hearts (frozen defrosted or canned), drained and sliced
  • pinch of excellent quality saffron threads
  • pinch of  Pimentón de la Vera or Spanish Paprika
  • 1 cup of frozen peas (optional)
  • salt and black pepper to taste  

My friend Guillermo Pernot (James Beard award winning chef and magician in the kitchen) taught me how to make rice.  This skill comes naturally to an Argentinian, but to a Jewish girl? Not so much.  So now, I rinse my rice before I cook it.  Just put the rice in a strainer and rinse it under cold running water for several minutes until the water runs clear.

rinse the rice
Heat the oil in a medium sized pan on medium high heat.  Saute the Chorizo for several minutes and then add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.  Continue to cook until the vegetables look translucent and lose their rawness.

spicy chorizo
mise en place (ingredients ready)
 sauté the chorizo and vegetables

vegetables get their close up
When the vegetables start to look clear and everything smells heavenly, add the rice directly from the strainer.  Stir the rice to ensure that every grain gets coated with the lovely flavored oils in the pan.

stir in the rice

Hand harvested stamen of Crocus flowers
Smoky, spicy deliciousness in a can
 now pour in the broth, stir it around, add the saffron threads, the Pimentón de la Vera, the artichoke hearts and additional salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a lively simmer, cover and reduce the heat to low.
Cook for 18 minutes and remove from heat.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes before uncovering, stirring and serving.

All in
Complete (but in need of green peas, parsley or cilantro for color)

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