Do you know that March is National Tex-Mex month? Neither do I but since this is my third consecutive recipe evolving around the Mexican/Texan/Spanish tastes, something of a holiday sorts must be celebrated somewhere. Well, at least it is in my house. Actually, today’s recipe is in anticipation of getting outside and firing up the grill. I have not cooked much outside this winter as I normally do, except for our Friday night ritual.
I bought my first racks of ribs yesterday and this afternoon I will be barbecuing my favorite, St. Louis style pork ribs using my BBQ Rib Rub and Mopping Sauce recipes. Together, it’s so good, most guest like myself never use a BBQ sauce preferring the ribs served ‘dry’. The secret, if you can call it that, is the slow process of bringing together the cooked-on rub with a slow baste of the mopping solution. Okay, I better get going, my mouth is drooling.
Back to the rice. This is a side dish based on another one I make and serve with Mexican meals but I added a few southern elements and toned down the Mex a bit to make it appealing to BBQ foods. I’ll add a comment after we get through eating…. Hope you try and enjoy it!
Spanish Style Rice for Cookouts
with a little southern flavor
2 tablespoons butter (or butter with olive oil)
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 ground bay leaves or 1 large bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 -14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups white long-grain rice, uncooked
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium high heat and sauté the four vegetables tossing to remove a little of the moisture. Cook until onions are slightly brown.
Add in the bay leaf, the spices, tomatoes and broth. Increase heat to high and at simmer, stir in the rice. Cover and reduce to low. Cook 18 minutes.
Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes. Fluff with large tine fork working in the pecans and green onions. Keep warm in a serving bowl until ready to plate.
Notes: Do not let set long before stirring or it could become mushy. I removed the rice from the saucepan and into a bowl to prevent this from happening, an experience I remembered from a similar recipe. Or you can reduce the chicken broth by 1/2 cup but as you can see in the pic, I think the rice turned out nice and plumped.
After the fact comment: pure yum – balanced flavor, not too spicy with subtle overtone of Spanish flavor – it was perfect complement for the ribs and would be great companion with other pork or chicken as well as grilled meals. I might would add some dried fruit if serving with game.