Sunday, December 16, 2007

Recipe of the week from Cheap and Tasty: Spanish rice

I chose this dish as recipe of the week because I love rice and I like trying new rice dishes and there were none in my repertory that contain tomatoes.

To serve 4.
Prep and cooking time: 45 minutes

400 g meat (I used mutton, but beef could also be used)
1 1/2 tsp butter/margarine
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green bell pepper (capsicum), sliced
1/2 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp salt
1 knife-tip (=small pinch) of saffron or turmeric (I used turmeric)
1 can (400 g) tomatoes
250 ml water
1/2 to 1 cube meat bouillon
200 ml rice

Cut the meat into cubes and brown in the butter/margarine. Add the onion, crushed garlic and bell pepper and let simmer together for a while. Add spices, salt, tomatoes, water, bouillon cube and rice. Cook, covered, for 18-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice. Make sure it doesn’t get too dry by adding a little water if needed.

Serve with iceberg salad leaves.

Review and notes:
I followed the recipe almost to the letter, except about halfway through the cooking process I added more garlic and then I ground about half a teaspoon of black pepper into it a few minutes before serving. While I did follow the instructions and serve iceberg lettuce with it, I think some wedges of fresh tomato and perhaps a piece of crusty bread would have been better.

The meat I used was soup grade mutton which imparted a nice flavour but was tough and would have needed about an hour and a half of slow stewing to become tender, so I spent quite some time after the meal picking it out of my teeth. If I had decided earlier that this was what I would be cooking, I would have let the meat tenderise in the refrigerator for 3-4 days beforehand.

The flavour of the dish is rich rather than strong, with paprika and tomato dominating and undertones of garlic, onion, green bell pepper and meat. I think beans would make a nice addition to the dish, and I can imagine it being even better made with beef than with mutton.

There are no photos this time because when cooked this is simply not a photogenic dish. It looks mushy and unattractive in the photos I took, so I decided against posting any.

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