I gotta admit that usually when I’m looking for a killer side, I’m thinking potatoes. What can I say? I’m from the North and have Irish roots – so maybe it’s genetic, lol! Sometimes rice just feels right, though, and it definitely did when I served Pernil, an herby, garlicky pork roast with Puerto Rican roots. Whoever guesses what recipe is coming next gets a prize…a free recipe for Pernil!
But back to this rice…I cobbled together a rice dish roughly based on a traditional recipe for Arroz con Gandules, Rice with Pigeon Peas. That’s a main dish, and we have a hater of any type of beans or legumes in the house so I adapted. What I ended up with was a beautifully fluffy rice dish flavored with tomatoes, onion & garlic. A perfect foil for the Roast.
This rice reminds me of what we in the States call “Spanish” Rice, but without the chili flavor (or any of the mushiness that sometimes plagues that old standard.) Serve this anytime you’re looking for a great rice with just a touch of heat to go with chicken or pork. Make this a main dish by adding Chorizo or Ham (or Pigeon Peas.)
This would be a great recipe to make with about 3/4 cup of Sofrito in place of the onion, pepper & tomato paste. Having a little Sofrtio on hand is a great time saver. As far as shopping hints: look for rice on sale with coupons or check the Mexican or Asian sections of your store for larger, more inexpensive packages. Bell peppers are often on sale and last quite awhile if stored properly. Pick up extra when you see a great price.
Rice with a Puerto Rican Flair
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco (more if you like heat)
- 2 cups white rice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 4 cups water
Heat oil in a medium sized sauce pan. Add onion & bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened. add the garlic, tomato paste and cumin and stir until tomato paste loses it’s bright red color and garlic is fragrant, about a minute or two.
Add in the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a good simmer. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a very slow simmer and cook until rice is tender about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork before serving.
I’ll be taking this recipe to Fiesta Friday Link Party!