Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Spanish Rice

I got the beginning recipe as a new bride from my mother-in-law. She came to my house and did a step-by-step demonstration for me so I could learn how to cook for her oldest son. Don't ask him whose he prefers now, okay? We don't want to make him pick sides.

Cast of Characters: Rice (She uses white, I use brown organic), Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Garlic, Oil and pretend there is salt in this picture. You do need some salt.

Step 1: Pour some oil or drop a heaping spoonful of LARD in a stainless skillet. When it's hot, add however much rice you want. I never measure and I always, repeat always, end up with a ton leftover (which I love to use in different recipes the rest of the week.) Brown the rice in the oil or LARD, being careful not to burn it. It will pop and turn a golden brown, even brown rice. This gives it the nutty flavor that is so important so do NOT skip this fattening important step.

Step 2: Add water - careful of the steam. THEN add the chili and cumin. Again, I never measure. Add enough chili so the water turns a nice dark red color. Then add enough cumin so you can smell it in the steam. Yes, this is how I cook. Then, press your garlic or use a molcajete. I use my molcajete, compliments from my mother-in-law when I am not pressed for time. It doesn't take longer - I just have to dig it out and my garlic press is very handy. Anyway, add the garlic, however you do it. If you don't have fresh, you can use the dry grainy stuff but it's not as good.

Next Step: I lost count. See the pretty red color? Perfecto! You want it bubbly like this:
THEN: cover, and lower heat to a simmer. You want it to get done sometime today so don't turn it to low. It needs to keep a little bubble. Now, forget about it for about 45 minutes if using brown rice. Don't stir it. That will make it mushy, I think. I just remember my MIL telling me NOT to stir it. About half-way through, get a clean spoon and taste the liquid, being careful NOT to stir the rice. If it tastes yummy, leave it alone. If it needs more salt, add it. More chili? Add now. Cumin? Add. Garlic? ...... yep, add it. However the liquid tastes is how the rice will taste so you want the liquid flavorful. If it's bland, I hate to say this... add salt. Salt is very important in this rice. Too much salt? Quickly add a chunk of peeled potato to the mixture. It will absorb some of the salt. Just try not to add too much salt. That is why you taste the liquid and add little amounts of stuff til it's just right. Note to family - this is why my rice is different each and every time. Sometimes I'm a little fiesty and want it spicer than perhaps next time I cook.

I don't have any finished pictures because by the time you get done cooking this meal, you will be so hungry, all you can think about is eating. And your family would likely kill you if you delayed any longer.
So, in honor of today's feast I am making for cinco de mayo, here is my secret recipe. Oh, we're also having tacos with homemade tortillas, rice, black & pinto beans with salsa, guacamole and salsa - and 99% is organic. Another + for me.
Bien provecho!

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