April 30, 2012

Spanish Rice Recipe (by way of Puerto Rico and Philadelphia)

Once in awhile I am treated to a night off from cooking.  Yay!  I look forward to these nights.  Little unannounced surprises.  Often, my husband will whip up a pot of Spanish Rice, a recipe that his mother used to make when he was growing up.  
His father was a pastor and once mentored a young seminarian who had come to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico to learn the ways of the church.  The younger pastor's wife spent time in the kitchen with my husband's mother, teaching her to cook dishes that seemed very foreign and exotic.  His mother quickly adopted the Spanish Rice recipe as her own, knowing that it was delicious and that she could inexpensively feed her eight children.  

I am happy to say that she cooked her Spanish Rice recipe for me before passing away.  Now, when my husband reaches for his mother's handmade cookbook, we enjoy not only a great dinner, but a lovely remembrance of her.

These are ingredients we typically have on hand, making last minute dinner prep super easy.

mise en place:  [MEEZ ahn plahs]
A French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking.

My husband is a firm believer in mise en place.  I need to work on that.



3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or the equivalent - whatever's on sale)
1 1/2 lbs rice
1 can tomato paste
3 Tbsp capers, with juice (don't drain them)
1 cup green olives
4 cups water or chicken broth (we prefer chicken broth)
Salt to taste


Heat olive oil in large pot over medium high heat.  Sauté garlic, onion and green pepper for 5 minutes.  Add chicken.  Add rice and stir for 3 minutes.  Add tomato paste, capers and green olives.  Add water or chicken broth.  Cover pot.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is done.  Salt to taste.

Can also be made with ham.  Or, leave the meat out for a vegetarian version.

Dinner is served!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! 


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