Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Favorite Rice. A Recipie Concocted with My Favorite Things

This is my absolute favorite rice ever. I can't believe that I never posted this before. It is full of flavor and is a meal on its own. It is inspired by the traditional Spanish rice cooked with cubed meat. Or try this with bacon, lots of it. Just make sure you drain all the grease out.

1 can of whole kernel sweet corn
1 can of dark red kidney beans is preferred, or pinto beans work nice too.
1 chicken bouillon
1 small can of tomato paste
1 link, 14 oz of smoked sausage. For lack of a better term, I use the kind of link sausage that resembles the Hillshire Farm brand. My preference is the beef kind but use what ever flavor you desire.
1 TBS of olive oil
1 TSP of minced garlic
1 TSP of dried Italian herbs
1 TSP garlic powder
salt and black pepper to taste
Rice- I think I used 3 cups. Read directions to see how I figure out how much rice to add to my pot.

Get a big pot and start heating the olive oil. Once it gets a little hot, turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic. My goal is to extract the flavor of the garlic and cook it until it turns translucent without burning it. If you burn it then start over. I will stir the garlic, remove the pot from heat, stir some more, and add it back onto the heat, several times to ensure that it will not burn.

Once it gets translucent, remove the pot from heat and set aside. Now start cutting up the sausage. I start by slicing it into circles and then cutting each circle into four pieces. Use the entire link of sausage.

Once it is all cut, add it to the pot and place the pot back onto the heat. Stir constantly until the sausage turns a little brown.

Next add the entire contents of the cans of tomato paste, corn, and beans.


Add the chicken bouillon and stir everything until it is well incorporated.

Now here is the part that is hard to explain. I never measure how much water to rice ratio I use when I cook. So I cant say how much water I added to my pot exactly. The only way I can describe it is to add enough water that it rises approximately 1 inch above all the corn, beans, and sausage mixture.

Now it is time to flavor the water. Add enough flavorings that the water has a slightly over flavored taste. You want this because the rice will absorb a lot of the flavor and it will taste like nothing if you don't add slightly too much. I used dried Italian herbs, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Before you add the rice double check the flavor of your water mixture. Now I add enough rice to the pot that it touches the surface of the water. I think I used about 3 cups but this could vary depending on the pot size you used and how much water you added.

JAdd enough rice that you can see it barely coming to the surface when it settles. This is so important. I do this to ensure that my rice never comes out mushy. The worst thing you can do is add too much water which results in mushy rice. Mushy rice can not be fixed. However, rice that is too hard due to lack of water to cook in, is easily fixable by adding more water. In this recipe, I do have to add water a few times but I do it in small increments like 1/3 cup at a time.

Turn the heat down to medium and put a cover on your pot so the rice can steam.

Cook it for 6 minutes at a time and then stir the contents.

Repeat this until the rice is cooked. If you notice while stirring that there is no liquid, add 1/3 cup of water. Rice cooks relatively quickly. When it is fluffy, and no longer hard to the bite it is done.

Traditionally, at least in my family, rice is cooked in what we call a "caldero". However, I find that when cooking with this type of pot, the rice burns and creates a crust on the bottom that is just gross to me. Some people love the crunchy burnt crust and eat it. We call this crust the "con con". My family is from the Dominican Republic :). When I cook with a nonstick pot I find that my rice doesn't burn (if you stir properly) and I actually have no waste.

Top it off with some finely chopped cilantro and enjoy!