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.

For more of my favorite rice recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

Posted by on September 10, 2017

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