Spanish Rice

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Spanish rice is one of those things that I took for granted in California — you pretty much could expect some sort of seasoning in your rice unless you went for Asian food. Even then, there were options other than plain white. Not so much a thing up here, where Finns will just toss a pat of butter on a heap of plain white rice and call it a day. This means that the “extra effort” to do otherwise tends to get a bit of recognition. Which is funny, since it really is almost as simple as boiling normal white rice, goes pretty much anywhere normal white rice would go, but brings so much more personality to the table.

I typically use About.com’s Easy Mexican Rice (Spanice Rice) recipe, because it is one of the most simple ones I’ve encountered and lends itself to all sorts of tweaking. Yet despite all the changes I’ve tried over the years, it has always resulted in a nice pot of rice.

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Ingredients list: canola oil, long grain rice, pre-chopped dried garlic, pre-chopped dried onion, dried parsley, chicken bouillon cubes and tomato paste. Another thing I love about this recipe is that while making it from fresh ingredients is nice (and I do it half the time), it also works really well with long-storing pantry items. Which means you can whip this up at the drop of a hat and not have to worry about running to the grocery store for anything.

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Onion and garlic gets rehydrated in warm water before cooking commences, while bouillon cubes are tossed into boiling water to dissolve. Using hot/warm water not only helps it absorb into the ingredient faster, but it means less temperature variations when the stuff is added to the pan, leading to more even and efficient cooking.

Spanish Rice

Serves 6
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Region Mexican
Website About.com

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • .5 small onion (finely chopped - I sometimes add even more. I also use the same amount in rehydrated onion flakes if I don't feel like chopping)
  • 1.5 cups long grain rice (300g)
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped - I also use rehydrated dried garlic sometimes if it's around)
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth (6 dl - chicken bouillon cubes work just fine)
  • 1 cup tomato paste (~2.5 dl - it says tomato sauce in the original, but I find it tastes better with the stronger paste)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons dried parsley (finely chopped if raw)

Note

This recipe makes a nice and basic Spanish rice which is suitable for many uses. It makes a great presentation bed/side dish for meat and seafood, can be added to a burrito to make it more filling, or can be a main course in itself if you add in chopped veggies and meat. It's also easy to make vegetarian by just substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth.

Directions

1.
Over medium heat, warm up the oil.
2.
Add in onion and garlic. Sautee for a few minutes until they start to darken and get fragrant. When using fresh, make sure they get soft and start to cook. When using rehydrated, the cues sometimes aren't as visible so just follow your nose.
3.
Add uncooked rice in with the onion mixture, stirring occasionally. Let rice start to brown.
4.
Add in chicken broth and tomato paste. If you are using bouillon cubes and have just made it up with boiling water, you will be ahead of the game because you can pour it in without having any major temperature changes.
5.
Add in the parsley and combine everything thoroughly.
6.
Let mixture reach a boil, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Let it simmer away for 20 minutes or so.
7.
Remove from heat, fluff with fork and serve hot. One of my favorite ways to use this dish is with pan-fried shrimp and a dollop of salsa.

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