Monday, 23 March 2009

Spanish Rice

Maybe it comes from all the re-reading of old cookbooks I've been doing lately (I've recently been re-united with my books after nearly 10 years apart) but it occurred to me that I hadn't made Spanish Rice in a long time.

This was a recipe which I believe developed in the eastern seaboard of the United States, in the 19th century. My guess is that cooks there developed it after hearing about Spanish rice dishes, in particular paella, eaten by sailors during their travels. They re-interpreted these dishes usng typically available ingredients; Carolina rice, tomatoes and beef. At any rate, it became a popular and well-known dish throughout North America, eaten well into the 1970's, before it was swept away by the flood of more authentic European and Asian rice dishes that became available.

Oddly enough, I was served versions of this a couple of times this winter by friends, both of whom referred to it as "goulash" which surprised me; I have a very different idea of what constitutes goulash. However, by any name it's a tasty and filling winter dish.

4 servings
1 hour - 1 hour work time

Spanish Rice
1 large onion
2 or 3 stalks of celery
1 medium carrot
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
450 grams (1 pound) ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rubbed oregano

1 1/2 cups arborio, or Spanish rice (or whatever rice you like, really)
4 cups crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped cooked cabbage

Peel and slice the onion. Slice the celery. Peel and grate the carrot. Peel and mince the celery.

Heat the oil in a very large skillet. Sauté the onion, celery and carrot until slightly softened. Add the beef, broken into small lumps. Season with the salt and oregano.

When the beef is mostly browned, add the rice. Sauté for several minutes more, until the rice begins to brown in spots. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir well. Reduce the heat, and cook the rice for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring regularly, until the rice is tender. You will likely need to add water throughout the cooking process to keep the dish sufficiently moist. It should be quite thick, but not dry.

When the rice is tender, add the chopped cooked cabbage and heat through.

Last year at this time I made English Muffins and Black Radish & Mushroom Salad.


Joanne said...

This dish sounds really good and I love that it only has a few ingredients!

Ferdzy said...

Yeah, it's very straightforward. You can leave the cabbage out, even; I just happened to have some leftovers.

Mr. Chips said...

Yumm!!! Made it for dinner last night. Think that the leftovers might even be better.

Ferdzy said...

Glad to hear it, Mr. Chips. And yes, the leftovers are always good!