Spanish-Style Everything Rice
A medley of complementary ingredients balancing sweet and savory flavors are included in this all-in-one rice dish. You can even enjoy it as a cold rice salad the next day!
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- A generous pinch of saffron threads (about 24)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta or broken pieces of thin spaghetti
- 1 cup long grain rice
- A small handful of golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, diced
- 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 fresh chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup large Spanish, pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon sweet or smoked sweet paprika (a palmful)
- 2 pinches cinnamon
- 1/2 cup green peas
- About 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry-roasted Marcona almonds or toasted sliced almonds
Char the pepper over an open flame burner or under the broiler on high with the oven door cracked to allow steam to escape. Once the pepper is blackened all over, place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool to handle, then seed and chop.
Heat the stock and add the saffron to allow the saffron to steep. Do not reduce.
In a saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pasta and toast until deep golden brown and very nutty in aroma. Add the rice, stir, then add the saffron stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook the rice for 16-18 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, place the raisins in a small dish and cover with very hot water to reconstitute – use just enough water to cover the raisins. Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium-high heat in a large skillet. To the hot EVOO, add the chorizo and brown at the edges. Once rendered, remove to a plate to keep the chorizo from drying out.
Return the pan to the heat and to the hot drippings add the onion, chili pepper, celery, garlic, olives, chopped roasted red pepper and season with salt, pepper, paprika and cinnamon. Toss and cook to tender crisp, 5 minutes. Add the chorizo back to the pan with the peas and heat through. Stir in the raisins and deglaze the pan with sherry.
Fluff the rice and fold into the chorizo, peppers and onions. Top with parsley and almonds and serve straight from skillet into shallow bowls at the table.