It must the cold weather. I’m craving curry, cumin, and green chili-laden dishes like crazy. Summertime cooking is just a different animal… there’s the avoiding heating up the house aspect, and also, I want something that’s cold and doesn’t need a lot of work to throw together! It’s summer, we’re busy! But once the leaves start turning I start thinking about soups and stews and dishes that linger on the stove and fill the house with mouth-watering aromas. I said once if I could infuse my walls with the scent of garum masala, I would. I still mean it. The smell of good food fills my heart near to bursting.
I also find it nearly impossible to cook from someone else’s recipe without *ahem* playing with it a little. Sometimes this is purely because I know that throwing raw chopped onions into a stew without sautéing them first produces a flavor and texture I find objectionable. Sometimes it’s because I’m missing an ingredient. And other times there’s just something in there we don’t eat. Cilantro is a good example. No one in the family likes it, so I just don’t use it.
The following recipe is the result of my, er, tinkering. I’ve been looking for a good Spanish/Mexican rice recipe for a while. The idea of spanish rice always sounds good, but the online recipes always seem lacking. I wanted a rice that wasn’t too moist, one that wasn’t too tomato-y. One that tastes like what you get in a restaurant but doesn’t carry all the guilt. This is it. It’s a fusion of several different recipes I found online, and somehow, magically, it all just came together. And it worked on the first try, no less! I’ve made this a couple of times since then, and it’s turned out just as yummy.
What’s the secret ingredient, you ask? I think it’s the green chilies. You’ve got to have them. And you have to salt as you go… none of this salting at the end business. (I could, and probably should, write an entire post about the art of salting your cooking. It is one of my pet peeves, along with turning the temperature up too high!)
I’m not claiming in any way, shape, or form that this recipe is authentic. But it IS delicious. I am slightly ashamed to admit that this was the only dish I made for dinner a several weeks ago… and everyone devoured it. There was a little bit left for lunch and that was that. And I scaled this recipe up from the originals! On subsequent trials, I found that leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave. If you reheat on the stove top, I’d keep your heat down low and put a couple of tablespoons of water or a bit of oil in the bottom of the pan to keep it from sticking.
If you try it, I’d love to know. Enjoy!
Green Chilies Spanish Rice
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 2 c uncooked rice, washed
- 1 Tbs kosher salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 can (2 1/2 Tbs) tomato paste
- 1 (4 oz) can of diced green chilies
- 1/4 cup oil in two 1/8 portions*
- 1 large 10 – 12″ frying pan with lid
1. Set up your mise in place. You’ll really want to have everything close at hand. Once you start on step two, you’re glued to the stove top.
2. Wash your rice. Drain as much of the water as possible. I like to leave the colander suspended above the sink to drip dry while I prep the onions and garlic.
3. Dice up your onion and garlic. You’ll want these to be 1/2″ to 3/4″ lengths of onion. I chop the garlic any which way.
4. Turn your burner on to medium, and pour 1/8 cup oil in the pan to heat. When the oil surface is dimpled, pour in the rice and start stirring. You want to coat all the grains of rice in oil. Keep stirring… if you leave it too long the rice will stick! Eventually some of the rice will start to toast. You’ll end up with a lovely mishmash of toasted grains and white grains. The timing on this will vary, but I found it took about 10 minutes. Eventually the rice just seems to quit toasting. While you’re toasting the rice, sprinkle approximately 3/4s of your salt on the rice. This will give it an even salty flavor.
5. Once your rice is lovely and toasty brown, push all the rice to the sides of the pan so you have a well in the middle. Pour in the remaining 1/8 cup oil. Wait for it to heat up and then add your onion and garlic. Saute just in the center area (don’t mix in the rice yet) until the onions are translucent.
6. Mix the remaining salt and cumin in with the onions and garlic and let the spices bloom for about 30 seconds. Then combine everything in the pan (the spices, onions and garlic, and rice) together.
7. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste and chilies. Mix until well blended.
8. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and cover the pan. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
9. After 10 minutes, uncover and stir. Cover for another 5 minutes.
10. Remove the lid and stir again. Leave it uncovered (to evaporate any excess liquid) for another 5 and then turn off the heat. You’re done!
*I’ve been using Avocado Oil and it’s really lovely – no weird taste. It also has a very high smoke point. You probably can make this recipe with Olive Oil but really watch your temperatures – you don’t want it to burn!