Sunday, September 10, 2017

Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice - a side dish made with bacon, rice, tomatoes, the Trinity of veggies and a few simple seasonings.
Spanish Rice - a side dish made with bacon, rice, tomatoes, the Trinity of veggies and a few simple seasonings.

Spanish Rice

With some variations in cooking method - stovetop, oven or a combination of both - and ingredients - tomatoes versus sauces, pastes or purees - that, which is defined as Spanish Rice across much of the country, is quite similar to Red Rice from the Lowcountry and the base of our beloved Creole Jambalaya of the Deep South.

What brings them together in common are rice, tomatoes and often what we call the Trinity of Cooking in the Deep South - onion, bell pepper and celery. I make them all pretty much the same really, although Spanish rice to me is a more abbreviated, milder side dish version, where the other two are typically more big batch and spicier main dish recipes, that usually include protein of some sort, chicken, seafood or chunks of smoked sausage or ham.

I think, and I may be wrong, that Spanish Rice is more retro, as it seems the younger cooks of today, refer to it as Mexican Rice. To me, though similar, I see Mexican Rice as a bit more enhanced, with additional flavors from things like chilies and cumin. A bit more fiery if you will!

We tend to eat a lot of rice in the Deep South, far more I think than mashed potatoes, so there's very likely to be some leftover and you can bet we use it up! Not only can it be simply re-hydrated in the microwave with a little splash of water for a side dish, it can also be used in casseroles, for dirty rice, in fried rice, and for dishes like this.

Since I am making this with leftover rice today, I suppose it's a little less "authentic" than the real deal, since Spanish rice, and even it's counterpart, Mexican rice, generally start with uncooked, well rinsed and skillet-toasted raw rice. I had leftover rice to use up, so I wrote my recipe that way. Very simple. Cook some bacon, saute veggies, add tomatoes and seasonings, stir in cooked rice, done!


I haven't tested this out using raw rice yet, but I'll try to remember to update the recipe when I do. If you want to go that route in the meantime, here's my suggestion. Saute about a cup of raw rice in the bacon drippings and butter with the veggies. Add 2 cups of chicken broth or water, tomatoes and seasonings, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. That ought to get you there.

Spanish Rice, a perfect side dish for many entrees, especially those already spicy Tex-Mex style main dish recipes. Hope you enjoy it, and be sure to check out the additional seasonings in the Mexican Rice variation in the recipe notes too.


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Recipe: Spanish Rice

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min

Total time: 30 min
Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet bell pepper (red, yellow, orange and/or green) or jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Rotel), undrained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, optional
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked rice
Instructions

Cook bacon to crisp over medium heat; remove and set aside, crumbling when cool. Add butter to pan drippings and saute onion, bell pepper and celery in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and paprika; bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and half of the cooked bacon and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed; garnish with remaining bacon.

Cook's Notes: For extra flavor, toast rice before cooking and adding to recipe. Be mindful of additional salt if using already seasoned cooked rice. Though not traditional, add in 1/2 cup of a thawed, frozen pea and carrot blend.

For Mexican Rice: Brown rice in 1/2 tablespoon oil then proceed with recipe. Add 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeno with the bell peppers, 1 teaspoon cumin and 2 teaspoons chili powder, substitute salsa for the tomatoes, and stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro with the rice.

For Curried Rice: Add 1/2 teaspoon curry powder to base recipe.

Beefy Rice: Brown 1/2 pound of ground beef; drain and set aside, returning to the pan with the tomatoes and seasonings.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Check These Other Rice Recipes Out Too Y’all!

Crawfish Rice Dressing
Cajun Dirty Rice
Pork and Egg Fried Rice
Posted by on September 10, 2017

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