Arroz al Horno Valenciano (Spanish Baked Rice) Recipe

Why It Works

  • Fatty cuts of pork like ribs and stomach stay tender and juicy all through cooking.
  • Browning the meats and potatoes earlier than assembling the rice for baking deepens taste.
  • Including a measured quantity of salt to the inventory ensures the completed rice dish is correctly seasoned all through.

Paella is the phrase on everybody’s lips when Spanish rice is the subject. However I would argue that as deserving as paella is of its worldwide fame, its sibling—arroz al horno—is the dish house cooks ought to commit extra of their consideration to. Born in Valencia, the rice-growing province that created paella, arroz al horno shares lots of the nice qualities of paella with a fraction of the challenges. Like paella, arroz al horno boasts deeply flavorful short-grain rice cooked in a single vessel with a customizable array of proteins, legumes, and greens. However not like paella, arroz al horno doesn’t should be carefully tended over a live fire (or, in case you’re adapting it for the home kitchen, a stovetop burner), with all of the related danger of scorching and uneven cooking that comes with it.

Severe Eats / Amanda Suarez

Recipes for arroz al horno valenciano (that’s, baked rice within the type of Valencia) fluctuate fairly a bit. A few of the easiest name for little greater than rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and some seasonings. When ready this fashion, arroz al horno is a superb facet dish to accompany meats and greens. Different recipes, although, bulk up the ingredient listing to additionally embody meats like blood sausage and numerous cuts of pork, in addition to slices of fried potatoes and even dried fruits like currants. Made this fashion, it is a filling one-pot meal that’s far simpler to throw collectively than its spectacular look would recommend.

In each the easy and fully-loaded variations, water, or, higher but, a meat broth is used to prepare dinner the rice (or, in case you’re cooking chickpeas from dried, the flavorful bean-cooking liquid). And in each instances, an entire head of garlic that Valencians cutely name the “partridge” is plopped on proper within the middle to roast because the rice bakes beneath it.

Severe Eats / Amanda Suarez

Historically, arroz al horno is cooked and served in shallow earthenware cazuelas, although I’ve discovered a roughly 3.5-quart sautè pan or one thing related additionally works very nicely. The sort of vessel is one other factor that differentiates arroz al horno from paella. Within the case of paella, the signature pan is each very skinny (for fast shifts in warmth as wanted) and really shallow, producing a comparatively slim mattress of rice stuffed with crispy bits due to the soccarrat that kinds on the underside. Arroz al horno, however, is cooked in a dish that enables a barely deeper mattress of rice that’s extra tender all through, since a lot of the cooking occurs within the oven and never over direct warmth, and no soccarrat is fashioned.

The recipe right here is of the extra lavish selection, however what issues extra right here than the precise elements is the fundamental methodology, which, as soon as understood, may be tailored to whichever elements you like. Go for a totally vegetarian method with simply chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic, and water (or bean-cooking liquid), or a meaty type of your alternative utilizing numerous sausages, meatballs, and cuts of pork, rooster, rabbit, or—dare I say with out incurring a purist’s wrath—seafood.

Making arroz al horno, within the broadest sense, goes one thing like this:

  • Sear any elements you wish to brown first, like meats and potato slices, to develop coloration and taste.
  • Add rice and spices/seasonings and toast within the oil. Toasting the rice reduces the thickening energy of floor staches, guaranteeing the completed baked rice has tender, separate grains, not gummy ones. Including spices like smoked paprika and saffron at this level permits them to infuse their fat-soluble flavors into the oil earlier than any water or inventory is added.
  • Add liquid—ideally a high-quality selfmade inventory, as its taste comes by means of absolutely right here, or the bean-cooking liquid (in case you’re not utilizing canned beans)—and produce to a simmer.
  • When you’re ready for the liquid to return to a simmer, layer on the toppings, corresponding to items of tomato, the fried potato slices, blood (or different) sausages, chickpeas, and so forth. Remember to pop that head of garlic proper within the middle.
  • Bake the rice till all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, then serve.

That is very a lot a recipe that, when you strive it a pair occasions, can turn into a dependable weeknight staple open to improvisation, but spectacular sufficient to even be an excellent, low-effort choice for entertaining a small group.

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