There comes a time in your cooking life when you realize that you’re attempting to prepare something significantly important. Something besides just the next recipe or adventure in the kitchen. Something that goes beyond just the food, the next blog post, or one self.
For me that realization came when I attempted to make Spanish Rice for the first time.
I’ll preface this right now: I still know entirely too little about traditional Spanish food. But I am learning. I am studying. I am in awe of the food history and flavors of these foods I am reading about. My journey continues of course, hopefully with a trip to Spain one day to experience these heavenly dishes I have dancing around in my mind.
Here I recount my 3rd time attempting to make Spanish Rice. When I began researching traditional Spanish Rice my mind was spinning. Every recipe I read was different. Some with garlic, some without. Some with water, some with chicken broth. Some with only red peppers, some with yellow and green. The confusion continued …
I continued reading and watching some recipes on YouTube about how some chefs were preparing Spanish Rice. While I cannot speak with any level of truth about what exactly is the correct way of preparing Spanish Rice – I concluded that there were many ways to prepare this dish. This is something that still doesn’t sit right with me totally – mostly because I want to get it right. I wanted to prepare the dish the correct way, not a modernized or modified way. Alas, my questions still remain and I hope to eventually learn (without any doubt) the correct way of preparing traditional Spanish rice.
For now, my recipe below is my best attempt at studying the dish, the different variations of ingredients and preparation – all in hopes I present the dish with the utmost respect is surely deserves. For those that may be reading that have experience with this dish – please feel free to comment if I’ve made any glaring and horrible mistakes!
Spanish Rice (My best attempt)
2 cups long grain white rice
1 lb Fresh Jumbo Shrimp (Head on)
4 cups chicken brothe
2 cans tomato sauce (no seasoning)
1 Green Pepper / 1 Red Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Spanish Onion
EVOO & Veg Oil
Heat a large sauce pan with 1/3 cup of EVOO. Roughly chop 1/2 a green pepper and 1/2 red pepper. Roughly chop 1/2 your Spanish Onion. Finely chop your cloves of garlic.
Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Carefully place your shrimp (head on) in the water.
While your shrimp boils add your fresh ingredients in the large sauce pan, allowing your peppers and onion to sweat down. Add a pinch of salt/pepper.
Remove your shrimp from the boiling water. Once your shrimp turn a bright orange color they should be finished. Remove the shrimp from the water and set aside.
In your large sauce pan, add your tomato sauce and chicken brothe. Bring to a rolling boil then add your rice. (General rule is for every 1 cup of rice, use 2 cups of water or liquid). For this recipe I used chicken broth instead of water.
Note: It is incredibly easy to burn the bottom of your pan with the rice. This creates a sticky messy disaster and your dish will taste of burnt rice. Not good. To avoid this keep close watch on the temperature and add 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil to your pan. This helps prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Gradually add in the remaining seasonings. Add a pinch of white pepper, cumin, oregano and Adobo seasoning. Add your roughly chopped parsley.
Cover your pan half way, reduce the heat and keep careful watch. The rice should be absorbing the liquid visibly more and more as it continues to cook.
The rice should be fully cooked within 10-15 minutes typically. Once your rice is nice and has taken a somewhat thick consistency – add in your shrimp after you’ve removed their shells.
Continue to cook on low heat for another 5 minutes.
Taste your dish at this point – adjusting seasoning as you like. Add Salt/Pepper if necessary.
Finally, remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes to allow flavors to continue to evolve. I’ve noticed the longer the dish sits the flavors become bolder and incorporate more overall.
And there you have it – my best take on Spanish Rice.